Modi kickstarts the 50th anniversary celebrations of ICRISAT and inaugurates two research facilities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting farms at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, on February 5, 2022.

Modi kickstarts the 50th anniversary celebrations of ICRISAT and inaugurates two research facilities

Hyderabad, February 5, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today kickstarted the 50th anniversary celebrations of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru, Hyderabad.

He also inaugurated ICRISAT’s Climate Change Research Facility on Plant Protection and Rapid Generation Advancement Facility. These two facilities are dedicated to the smallholder farmers of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. He also unveiled a specially designed logo of ICRISAT and launched a commemorative stamp issued on the occasion.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and G Kishan Reddy were present at the ceremony.

Underlining the importance of the next 25 years for both the country and also for ICRISAT, Modi stressed the need for new goals and working for them. He lauded the institute for its contribution to helping agriculture in a large part of the world including India.

He appreciated its contribution to water and soil management, improvement in crop variety, on-farm diversity and livestock integration. He also mentioned ICRISAT’s holistic approach in integrating farmers with their markets and promoting pulses and chickpea production in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “Your research and technology have helped make agriculture easy and sustainable,” he added.

The worst affected by climate change were the people on the last rung of development with little resources. That is why India had requested the world to pay special attention to this factor, he said.

Talking about LIFE- Lifestyle for Environment; P3 - Pro planet people movements and India’s net-zero target by 2070, he said, “Pro planet people is a movement that connects every community, every individual with climate responsibility to tackle the climate challenge. This is not limited to just words, but is also reflected in the actions of the Government.”

Referring to the 15 agro-climatic zones and six seasons of the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the depth of ancient experience of Indian agriculture. He pointed out that India’s focus was on the fusion of "back to basics" and "march to future" to protect its farmers from the climate challenge. “Our focus is on the more than 80% per cent farmers who are small and need us the most,” he added.

He mentioned another dimension of changing India, namely, digital agriculture which he termed as India’s future and stressed that the talented Indian youth could contribute a great deal in this field. He listed several aspects like crop assessment, land records digitization, spraying insecticides and nutrients by drones which were witnessing increased use of technology and artificial intelligence. “India’s efforts are increasing relentlessly for empowering farmers through digital technology,” he said.

The Prime Minister emphasized that in the "Amrit Kaal", the 25 years between the 75th year of independence this year and the 100th hear, India was focussing on inclusive growth along with higher agriculture growth. Women in the agriculture sector were being supported through self-help groups.

“Agriculture has the potential to take a large chunk of population out of poverty towards a better lifestyle. This Amrit Kaal will also provide new means to the farmers in geographically difficult areas,” he added.

India was working on a dual strategy. A large part of the land was being brought under irrigation through water conservation and connecting of rivers. Water use efficiency through micro-irrigation was also being encouraged in areas with limited irrigation, he said.

The National Mission for self-reliance in edible oils indicated India’s new approach. The Mission aimed to increase palm oil area by six lakh hectares. “This will help Indian farmers at every level and will prove very beneficial for the farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” Modi said. He also dwelt on the steps taken to strengthen post-harvest infrastructures like creating a cold chain storage capacity of 35 million tonnes and the creation of the Rs one lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund," he said.

India was also focusing on establishing FPOs and Agriculture value chain. “We wish to create an alert and potent market force out of the small farmers by organizing them into thousands of FPOs,” he said.

India’s goal was not just to increase food grain production. The country has enough surplus food grain to run one of the world’s big food security programmes. “We are focusing on food security as well as nutrition security. With this vision, we have developed many bio-fortified varieties in the last seven years,” he added.

ICRISAT is an international organisation that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia & sub-Saharan Africa. It helps farmers by providing improved crop varieties and hybrids and also helps smallholder farmers in the drylands fight climate change.

NNN

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