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PM lauds ICRISAT contribution to agriculture, releases commemorative stamp

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Hyderabad, Feb.5 (PMI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today visited the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) campus in Patancheru, near here and kickstarted the 50th anniversary celebrations of ICRISAT. He also inaugurated ICRISAT’s Climate Change Research Facility on Plant Protection and ICRISAT’s Rapid Generation Advancement Facility. Modi also unveiled a specially designed logo of ICRISAT and launched a commemorative stamp issued on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of next 25 years for both the country and also for ICRISAT. He stressed the need for new goals and working for them. He lauded ICRISAT for their contribution in helping agriculture in large part of the world, including India. He appreciated their contribution in water and soil management, improvement in crop variety, on-farm diversity and livestock integration. He also praised their holistic approach in integrating farmers with their markets and promoting pulses and chick pea production in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Stating that the worst affected by climate change are the people on the last rung of development with little resources, he reiterated India’s request to the world to pay special attention to the climate changes. He talked of LIFE- Lifestyle for Environment; P3 – Pro planet people movements and India’s net zero target by 2070. “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 of India”, he added.

Referring to 15 Agro-Climatic Zones and 6 seasons of the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the depth of ancient experience of Indian agriculture. He pointed out that India’s focus is on the fusion of ‘back to basic’ and ‘march to future’ to protect its farmers from climate challenge.  “Our focus is on our more than 80 per cent farmers who are small and needs us the most”, he said. He also spoke about digital agriculture which he termed as India’s future and stressed that talented Indian youth can contribute a great deal in this. He listed areas like crop assessment, land records digitization, spraying insecticides and nutrients by drones which are 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, India is focussing on inclusive growth along with higher agriculture growth. Women in agri-sector, are being supported through self-help groups. “Agriculture has the potential to take a large chunk of population out of poverty and take them towards better life-style. This Amrit Kaal will also provide new means to the farmers of geographically difficult areas”, he said.

The Prime Minister said that India is working on a dual strategy. On the one hand, a large part of the land is being brought under irrigation through water conservation and connecting of rivers. Water use efficiency through micro irrigation is being encouraged in areas with limited irrigation, on the other. The Prime Minister said that National Mission for self-reliance in edible oils indicates India’s new approach. The Mission aims to increase palm oil area by 6 lakh hectare. “This will help Indian farmers at every level and will prove very beneficial for the famers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana”, he pointed out.  He also dwelled on the steps taken to strengthen post-harvest infrastructure like creating cold chain storage capacity of 35 million tonnes and creation of 1 lakh crore rupees Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

The Prime Minister said that India’s goal is not just increasing food grain production. India has enough surplus food grain to run one of the world’s big food security program. “We are focusing on food security as well as nutrition security. With this vision, we have developed many bio-fortified varieties in the last 7 years”.

Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and G. Kishan Reddy were among those present.   (PMI)

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