Wastage of agricultural produce is a major drain on production and India needs to have innovative technologies along with well defined investment priorities to balance agriculture production and protection of produce including processing and value addition, Panjab Singh, President, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) said.
Singh, who is also Chancellor, Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi, recently took charge of the President. In his address at NAAS, he said that India has not been able to do much on to reduce post harvest losses. “As of now we are producing more to lose more. At present about 90 per cent of farm produce is sold (distress sale) soon after harvest letting farmers loose much of their share of income. We need to have innovative technologies and define investment priorities to balance the two-production and protection including processing and value addition,” he said.
The Academy is a think tank of intellectuals to address emerging challenges and provide inputs to stakeholders in promoting sustainable agriculture and excellence in agriculture science.
Singh has served as Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, ICAR, Vice Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U), Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur and Director/Vice Chancellor, Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, besides others. He is an agronomist by training and possesses more than four decades of experience in agriculture research, education and planning and management across institutions and organisations.
“We are also to acknowledge that while farming has improved, the condition of our farmers, who feed us all, continues to be deplorable and needs our utmost attention,” Singh said.
He said that his priority areas for academy’s attention include: How to achieve simultaneously improvement in basic natural resources (land, water, biodiversity etc.) and also in agriculture production? As of now one is growing at the cost of other. Policy and technological dimensions are to be set in place to achieve this, he added.
Low pulses and oilseeds production continues to be a challenge and is causing a big drain on our limited foreign exchange resource year after year.
National crop insurance scheme, procurement of farmers produce at MSP, provision for timely and quality production inputs supply have been put in place by governments but its implementation would need a strong monitoring mechanism to let it actually happen. As of now it is far from satisfactory.
NAAS President said that human resource development at every level, both by number and by training, is a major concern. Trained man power right from farmer level and upward is the need of the day so as to make them capable to imbibe and practice technological developments.