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There are still large productivity gaps in the potential and the realized farm output and with development and infusion of new technologies our farm production will go up to meet the rising domestic food demand, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh said today.
Laying the Foundation Stone of Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University(ANGRAU) in Andhra Pradesh, Singh said, “Technological progress in agriculture is crucial for the overall economic development of the country.”
According to him, the agricultural technologies generated by the research institutions and the Agricultural Universities have enabled the country to achieve self reliant food security at national level and today we are among the leading producers of several food items. In recent years, food grain production has exceeded 260 million tonnes, horticultural production is about 280 million tonnes, milk is 137 million tonnes, eggs-73 billions and fish over 9.8 million tonnes.
“The growth and development of agriculture in our country is considerably driven by our institutions of higher agricultural education and research. India has one of the largest agricultural education and research systems in the world with the largest number of scientific personnel of any developing country except China,” he added.
The research system includes approximately 30,000 scientists and more than one lakh supporting staff actively engaged in teaching and research related to agriculture. The National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) comprises essentially two main streams, the ICAR at the national level and the Agricultural Universities at the State level. Today we have 73 agricultural universities and 101 ICAR research institutions serving the farming community.
In Andhra Pradesh, ICAR has established two institutions namely Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, Peda Vegi, in West Godavari District and Central Tobacco Research Institute, Rajahmundry. ICAR has also established four Regional Centres of Fisheries Institutes: CIFE Centre at Kakinada, CIFA Centre in Vijayawada, Centres of CIFT and CMFRI in Visakhapatnam and 12 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs).
ANGRAU has been serving the farming community of Andhra Pradesh for bringing overall improvement in agriculture and allied sectors by providing the required services in Education, Research and Extension.
The University has several firsts in the country to its credit in the improvement of field crops, commercial crops, pulses and oil seeds.This Agricultural University has introduced an academic innovation “Rural Work Experience Programme” for the first time in the country during the year 1979-80. Based on its success, the programme was recommended by ICAR for adoption by all other Agricultural Universities in the country. This programme provided opportunities for final year students of B.Sc.(Ag.) to gain insight and experience in field operations and problems related to farming and rural life, by staying in villages for one semester.
Now, ICAR has launched Students READY programme by integrating this “Rural Work Experience Programme” as a major component. The Students READY programme was recently launched by the Prime Minister on 25 July 2015 and it will be implemented from the next academic year. Under this programme, the Union Government shall provide fellowship of Rs 3000 per month for a period of six months to all the under-graduate students of agricultural science.
“We expect that with establishment of this University at Lam, Guntur, the agricultural growth in the region will receive the much needed impetus and will usher in a new era of robust agriculture and a knowledge empowered prosperous farming community,” Singh said.