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The first Farmers Science Congress, organised on the sidelines of Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru on Monday highlighted the importance of farmers’ innovations and their scientific validity in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) stressed on the benefits for farmers from such a platform and said that innovators from different parts of the country can share their experiences and learn from each other. “Scientist-farmer interactions can boost innovations to the next level and this can benefit the people in general,” he added.
Dr. Mohapatra called on school the students to attend the Farmers Science Congress, so that interest in agriculture can be created right from the school level through interactions. He called the first Farmers Science Congress as a big encouragement for the farmers community.
ICAR DG mentioned about the paradigm shift from production and nutrition security to doubling of farmers’ income by 2022. “ICAR has developed 56 models of integrated farming, which will be promoted with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) by linking them to the rural development programmes,” he pointed out.
Dr. Mohapatra informed that Farmers Innovation Fund and Innovation Centres will be set up to encourage innovations made by progressive farmers. To encourage organic farming, 45 types of organic farming systems have also been developed in niche areas. "If we can give some support to their innovations by way of financial support, innovation validation and market linkage, farmers will be encouraged to to take them forward," he added.
He also said that to reduce the use chemical of pesticides and fertilisers, ICAR is developing nano fertilisers and nano pesticides to promote organic farming.
“To improve rural bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture, a programme named ARYA (Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture) is being implemented. Till now over 5000 youth have been brought into this programme in which they have been trained to be entrepreneurs and begin a start up, Around 104 such startups are marketing processed food items,” he said.
The Chairman of Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission, Hanumanagouda Belagurki emphasised on the challenges in the agriculture sector and said that there is a need to introduce economy and social sciences as part of agricultural science in the agriculture universities.
Farmers Science Congress was organised as a part of the ongoing 107th Indian Science Congress at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru. Around 120 innovative farmers from across the country participated in Farmers Science Congress and showcased their products.
Experts from the different areas in agriculture sector discussed on three themes; Farmers innovation on integrated agriculture and entrepreneurship for doubling farmers income; Climate change, bio-diversity, conservation, ecosystem services & farmers empowerment and Agrarian distress, rural bio-entrepreneurship, policy issues in a day event.