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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 19.01.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a new building of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Baramati and a technology exhibition in its newly inaugurated premises today (January 19, 2014).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that technology-induced agricultural growth is the way ahead for the country. He called upon the entire network of agricultural research, education and extension institutions to develop and implement newer technologies for greater farm development. He stated that the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013 has underlined the importance of fostering innovations in agriculture. This policy has also envisaged a greater mentoring role for grass-root institutions like KVKs. He stated that he was happy to learn about ICAR proposing a Farm Innovation Fund to validate and document farmer innovations. He said that this would encourage the development of new products, technologies, processes and methodologies by the farmers for the benefit of farmers.

The President stated that the extension system has to be re-engineered with active participation of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporate sector, farmer organizations and self-help groups (SHGs). In this innovative concept of public-private-people partnership in extension, the KVK system has to play crucial role. He added that micro-enterprises in agriculture and allied sectors operated by women have proved to be successful. The capacity of women to create synergy between their multi-faceted roles and skill development has to be recognized. More SHGs have to be therefore promoted. Models like paddy task force of rural women developed and tested by KVKs in Kerala can be replicated in other areas.

The President said that India is a leading producer of many horticulture crops. The scope for further development is high. KVKs have to train growers and encourage them to form associations for collective bargaining in procuring inputs and selling their produce. The exemplary work in Maharashtra – setting up of model farmers’ organizations like sugarcane cooperatives and fruit growers organizations, generation of employment through development of horticulture, micro-irrigation and water budgeting - is worthy of emulation by other states.

The President said that there is a need to transform the agro-processing sector by improving post-harvest management, focused on reducing wastage and increasing value addition. Dairy and fisheries are other sectors that have immense potential for development. He stated that India ranks first in milk production and second in fish production in the world. Given the rising demand for these food items, a focused strategy is required to leverage their production potential. Technology-led growth in horticulture, livestock, dairy, and fisheries sectors would help usher in a Rainbow Revolution in agriculture.

The President said that growth in agriculture has to benefit all sections of society. Studies have indicated that a one percentage growth in agriculture is two times more effective in poverty eradication as compared to growth in other sectors. The National Food Security Act was enacted in September, 2013 to provide legal guarantee for food grains at affordable prices to more than 800 million people. The roll out and successful implementation of this world’s largest social sector programme would depend on the success of our agriculture sector. The consistently good production of food grains during the last nine years gives confidence that the country would be able to fulfill the obligation of food security to the people.

This release issued at 1450 hrs.