Need greater agri innovation: President Patil
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 15:51
  
New Delhi: Underlining the challenges of feeding a growing population, President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday emphasised on greater innovation in the agriculture sector to achieve food security.

"World population has touched seven billion-mark. More and more people would have to be fed and land and water are limited resources. So a major breakthrough in agricultural productivity would remain highly dependent on innovative approaches," Patil said, inaugurating an international agri-conference here.

Emphasising on blending knowledge with farm practices, she called on everyone working in the agriculture sector to "think out-of-the-box" to achieve a major breakthrough in farming, especially in rain-fed areas and small and fragmented landholdings.

"Our endeavour is that in addition to irrigated areas, the agricultural revolution must cover rainfed areas, which continue to face the challenges of low productivity and scarcity of water," Patil noted.

She further said a way out has to be found to ensure that small and fragmented landholdings take advantage of economies of scale.

Highlighting the need to integrate farming with other sectors and public-private partnerships to boost production, the President said, "There should be deliberations on evolving suitable models for partnerships between farmers, the private sector and the government in agriculture and rural development."

The partnership, however, should safeguard the ownership of the land of the farmer, she noted.

On communicating agri-info to the farming community, the President said the innovative models developed by research firms should be made accessible to farmers in local languages.

She also felt the need to identify innovative practices developed by farmers and make them marketable.

Addressing the gathering, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that India, which feeds 17.5 per cent of the world's population, has a special responsibility in ensuring global food security.

Agricultural growth, which is likely to be 7.5 per cent this year, is appreciable, but the country still needs to scale up its farm productivity through greater use of new technologies.

He said there should be greater linkages between farmers and the corporate sector to arm cultivators with the latest know-how in agriculture.

Agricultural scientists and professionals from global organisations have congregated here for a four-day conference to discuss how innovative agriculture practices have helped boost foodgrains output in some countries.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 15:51


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