Need greater agri innovation: President Patil

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 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 9, 2011 - 15:51

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