The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has exhorted agricultural scientists to work towards a two-fold objective of enabling the Indian farmer to (a) feed India and the world; (rashtra aur vishva ka pet bhare) and (b) earn a good income in the process. (kisan ki jeb bhare).
Addressing the agricultural scientific community on the 86th Foundation Day of ICAR, at the NASC Complex in Delhi, the Prime Minister – who was earlier greeted with a "standing ovation" – called upon the audience to give a "standing ovation" to the millions of Indian farmers, who, he said, have played a huge role in changing India's fortunes.
Speaking after giving away ten awards for excellence in agricultural research, Shri Narendra Modi asked the scientists to elaborate upon their research in simple terms, so that it could be understood by the farmers, and they could be convinced to try out new products and initiatives. Noting that farming in India is hereditary, and practices are difficult to change, the Prime Minister said that change can happen only when the farmer is convinced about its efficacy. Therefore, agricultural scientists must - in accordance with changing circumstances of climate, water and soil - help the farmer get convinced about their initiatives. The Prime Minister said that the water-cycle has to be managed according to the changing weather-cycle.
The Prime Minister asked ICAR to set goals for their centenary, which is 14 years away.
He said the work of ICAR should have two mantras:
• "Kam zameen, kam samay, zyaada upaj" – Less land, less time, more crop
• "per drop, more crop"
He called upon ICAR to set its sights on achieving self-sufficiency in edible oil, and improving protein content and availability of pulses.
Since demand is increasing, and land available will not rise, the focus has to be on soil fertility, the Prime Minister noted. Giving the example of Mahatma Gandhi, and his commitment towards water conservation, the Prime Minister asked ICAR to work for more efficient ways of water conservation and irrigation (jal sanchay se jal seenchan).
Shri Modi also said that in the field of animal husbandry, special efforts need to be made to raise the level of milk productivity.
To meet the challenge of "lab to land" – taking scientific research to successful interventions – the Prime Minister exhorted agricultural colleges to start radio stations. Noting that farmers listen to radio a lot, he said radio programmes run by college students would prove extremely beneficial. He called for a digitized database of all agricultural research in the country. He said young educated and progressive farmers; and agricultural research scholars can together form a talent pool in all districts of the country.
The Prime Minister also called for a blue revolution that would extend the benefits of scientific research to the fisheries sector. He also called for greater research and promotion of coastal seaweed, and Himalayan herbal medicinal plants.