FARMER-scientist interaction needed for resolving rural problems:Dr Trilochan Mahapatra

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THE government is committed to encouraging rural bio-economy and reduce pesticides in agriculture operation and for this objective, multiple schemes are being implemented. This was disclosed by Dr Trilochan Mahapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Education, white inaugurating Farmers’ Science Congress at Bengaluru. Farmers’ Innovation Fund and Innovation Centres will be set up. The government is encouraging 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 take them forward,” he added. He also said that to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, ICAR are developing Nano fertilizers and nano pesticides to promote organic farming. “To improve rural bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture, a programme named Arya is being implemented. Till now, over 5,000 youth have been brought into this programme in which they have been trained to be entrepreneurs and begin a start up, about 104 such startups are marketing processed food items,” he said.The Farmer’s Science Congress was held for the first time in the 107 years of history of the Indian Science Congress for highlighting the importance of farmers’ innovations and their scientific validity. It is for the first time in the history of Indian Science Congress that a farmer centric event was organized which is a big encouragement for the farmer’s community.Dr. Mohapatra mentioned about the paradigm shift from production and nutrition security to doubling of farmers’ income by 2022. This shift in thinking was the result of a call given by the Prime Minister and highlighted the benefits of 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 students to attend the Farmers’ Science Congress so that interest in agriculture can be created right from the school level through interactions.“ICAR has developed 56 models of integrated farming, which will be promoted with NABARD by linking them to the Rural Development programmes,” he said. ICAR are developing Nano fertilizers and nano pesticides to promote organic farming. “To improve rural bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture, a programme named Arya 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 emphasized on the challenges in the agriculture sector and said that there is a need to introduce economic and social sciences as part of agricultural science in the agriculture universities. Farmers Science Congress was organized as a part of the ongoing 107th Indian Science Congress at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru. Around 120 innovative farmers from across the country are participating in the Farmers Science Congress and showcase their products. Experts from the different agriculture sector discussed farmers’ innovation, 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 the event held on  January 6.

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