HYDERABAD: Asserting that “digital agriculture” is the future of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, urged talented youth to contribute to the field. Modi listed areas like crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying insecticides and nutrients by drones where technology and artificial intelligence play a major role. “India’s efforts are increasing relentlessly for empowering farmers through digital technology,” he said after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
Modi also inaugurated ICRISAT’s Climate Change Research Facility on Plant Protection and ICRISAT’s Rapid Generation Advancement Facility. These two facilities are dedicated to smallholder farmers of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. He unveiled a specially designed logo of ICRISAT and a commemorative stamp.
Addressing a gathering later, the PM stressed the need to set new goals in agriculture and achieve them over the next 25 years. India, he said, is working on a dual strategy. A large part of cultivated land is being brought under irrigation through water conservation and linking of rivers. Water-use efficiency through micro-irrigation is being encouraged in areas with limited irrigation, on the other hand.
Farmers & climate change
Stressing the need to pay special attention to climate change, the Prime Minister talked of LIFE- Lifestyle for Environment, P3-Pro Planet People movements and India’s net zero target by 2070.
Our focus is on small farmers, says PM Modi
“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 Central government,” Modi said. The country’s focus was on the fusion of ‘back to basic’ and ‘march to future’ to protect its farmers from climate changes. “Our focus is on our more than 80 per cent farmers who are small and need us the most,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister lauded ICRISAT’s efforts in integrating farmers with their markets and promoting pulses and chickpea production in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “Your research and technology have helped making agriculture easy and sustainable,” Modi told the scientists.
The PM emphasised that in Amrit Kaal, the country was focussing on inclusive growth along with higher agriculture growth. Women in agri-sector, were being supported through self-help groups. “Agriculture has the potential to take a large chunk of population out of poverty. This Amrit Kaal will also provide new means to farmers of geographically difficult areas,” he said.
Benefits for AP, TS
The Prime Minister said that National Mission for self-reliance in edible oils indicates the country’s new approach. “The Mission aims to increase palm oil area by six lakh hectares. This will help our farmers at every level and prove beneficial for the farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” he said. Modi also highlighted the government’s efforts to strengthen post-harvest infrastructure like creating cold chain storage capacity of 35 million tonnes and creation of a an Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of `1 lakh crore.
“The country’s goal is not just increasing food grain production. The country has enough surplus food grain to run one of the world’s big food security programme. We are focusing on food security as well as nutrition security,” Modi added.
Earlier, scientists explained the various research activities at ICRISAT to the Prime Minister. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan and Jai Vignan was the slogan of the Prime Minister. Director general of ICRISAT Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes said that the ICRISAT was focusing on the research to make dry land agriculture resilient, sustainable and profitable. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy were also present.