The two-day national symposium on “Creating Enabling Ecosystem in Agricultural Universities for Agritech innovations: Challenges and Opportunities” concluded here on Friday, with a call for changes in agricultural education within the purview of the new national education policy.
The meeting organised jointly by the Indian Agricultural Universities’ Association (IAUA) and Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) held four technical sessions in which 40 agricultural scientists form the university and the industry participated.
The concluding session included president of IAUA R.K. Mittal, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology (Meerut, UP), VC of Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (Gujarat) R.M. Chauhan, and VC of PJTSAU V. Praveen Rao.
They stressed the need for change in the functioning of agricultural universities so that they could efficiently guide farmers to take agriculture sector forward on the lines of countries such as South Korea and Taiwan having minimum natural resources.
They wanted the focus to be shifted to sustainable development of agriculture in the backdrop of climate changes, degrading soil nutrition and lack of nutritional food by taking the new and emerging technologies to small and marginal farmers.
Mr. Chauhan said that the outcome of deliberations at the two-day symposium would be submitted in the form of a report to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Union Government.
On the first day on Thursday, Agriculture Production Commissioner of Telangana M. Raghunandan Rao said that agriculture universities in the country shall put in efforts to make available the emerging technologies to small and marginal farmers so that not only the quality of the produce is improved but the quantity and yield too.
He explained several new initiatives of the Telangana Government in agriculture sector such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, free uninterrupted power supply to agricultural pump-sets, revival of minor irrigation tanks, completion of irrigation projects, appointing one agriculture extension officer for 5,000 acres land in cultivation, construction of Rythu Vedikas, among others.
Group Head (Agri & IT Business) of ITC Ltd S. Siva Kumar suggested the varsities to improve productivity, production and quality to ensure good price to farmers by making them available new technologies. He suggested the production to be in the line of consumer demand and food security keeping in mind the shrinking resources and climate change.