Pantnagar: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that Agricultural Universities must become the focal points of agricultural growth and change in India.
"Agricultural institutions of learning must focus on growth and quality improvement. Institutional tie-ups must be pursued to leverage expertise. Partnerships with other agricultural institutions must be taken up for joint research," President Mukherjee said while addressing the 29th Convocation of Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology here.
The President further said that adoption of more sustainable land use systems and soil management practices has become essential.
"Agriculture must return to its roots by rediscovering the importance of healthy soil, drawing on natural sources of plant nutrition and using fertilizers judiciously and effectively. It also calls for greater investment in technology development and its on-farm adoption, deepening of markets and remunerative prices to farmers," he added.
The President stated that in the Global Hunger Index 2015, which combines the three indicators of under-nourishment, child under-weight and child mortality, India is ranked 80th out of 104 countries and stated that there is a need to improve the nutritional status of the population in a time-bound manner.
The President said time is ripe for new measures for sustainable intensification of agriculture.
"These include irrigation and continuous seed and breed improvement. Research needed to ascertain the dynamics of toxic elements in the soil-crop system and to develop appropriate mechanisms for bio-remediation for safe use of water. Steps to enhance water harvesting, water-use efficiency and conjunctive use of water are necessary. These would result in net increase in irrigation potential. Our policies must address water productivity in totality," President Mukherjee said.