In order to strengthen agriculture education, research and extension activities, more so in North East (NE) region, the Centre has decided to open a new Central Agricultural University(CAU) at Barapani, Meghalaya, Union Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh said today.
Addressing a conference of vice chancellors of agri universities and ICAR directors in New Delhi, he said that six new colleges related to agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and food science are also being established under the existing CAU, Imphal. The number of colleges in the North Eastern region will go up from 7 to 13 and four of the six colleges are already established and to strengthen the CAU, four new colleges were approved from which one college has already been established and the establishment process of rest three colleges are in progress, the Minister added..
“Over the years, the network of Agricultural Universities has resulted in development of skilled and trained human resources which have been instrumental in generating new technologies, their assessment, refinement & dissemination to farming community,” Singh said.
ICAR has emphasized on the development of crop varieties especially resistant to various biotic and abiotic stresses. “ It is heartening to see India as one among the 15 leading exporters of agricultural products in the world with significant exports of cotton, rice, meat, oil meals and sugar,” he added.
According to the Minister, the technologies for efficient management, utilization and conservation of resources are needed on priority. Since the demand for food is continuously rising, and land availability is limited, the country has to focus on increasing productivity, and on maintaining soil health and fertility.
He said that livestock feed, healthcare and management are to be addressed in an integrated manner for ensuring intensification in the animal sector.Changes in livestock production increase the potential for new pathogens to emerge, grow and spread from animals to humans on a global scale.
The Agriculture Minister emphasised that higher education is crucial to maintain and sustain growth in agricultural productivity, as it promotes research capabilities and skills to assimilate and adapt the current technologies, and develop the new ones. Agricultural education has to evolve in tune with fast changing national and international scenario, he added.