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17 Jul, 2012

India Monitors Food Impact as Monsoon Rains Play “Hide-and-Seek”


New Delhi, Ministry of Agriculture, 16-July, 2012 – The Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar today hailed the agricultural research system for the key role it has played in increasing farm production over the years. Recounting the shift in Indian agriculture from the era of famine and food imports to the present era of surplus, Mr Pawar said that the record foodgrain production of over 250 million tonnes, is a landmark achievement and has been appreciated even by international bodies.

Speaking at the ICAR Foundation Day and Award Ceremony here today, he said that for the first time, India has exported around 50 lakh tonnes of non-basmati rice, 15 lakh tonnes of wheat, 25 lakh tonnes of sugar and more than 100 lakh bales of cotton.

Recalling some of the significant research outcomes, the Minister said that the “Indian research institutions developed promising crop varieties especially CR Dhan 701 of rice, chickpea, mungbean and maize hybrids, along with improved production technologies. Recent breakthrough in decoding of tomato genome will help in combating biotic and abiotic stresses. Further, successful breeding of silver pompano fish; birth of mithun calf through ETT and cattle calf using Ovum-Pick-Up and IVF technology; diagnostic kits for disease of livestock and poultry would prove useful in future.”

The Minister called for evolving next generation technologies to meet the challenge of increasing farm productivity while maintaining the natural resource base. He said, “The public sector research today is facing a huge challenge of increasing the long-term productivity of agriculture and food industry, while maintaining and enhancing the natural resource base on which rural agricultural economy is currently dependent. Many global research organizations (public and private) have sensed the need for next generation technologies.

“To advance pro-poor agricultural R&D, it is required that both, the private and public sector research and development organizations, focus on pooling resources and work collaboratively for harnessing the synergies; to lead to desired initiatives on intensive agriculture researches for next generation technologies.”

Earlier, former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in his Foundation Day Lecture, called for establishing research missions with an aim to take India’s foodgrain production to 350 million tonnes by 2020.


Agriculture Minister, Mr Pawar underlined the dependence of Indian agriculture on monsoon. “This continues to challenge the farming community, scientists and the policy makers alike. This year, with monsoon playing hide and seek, it will be really a challenge to maintain the excellent performance of last two years,” he said.

He said that the Government was ready to face any monsoon eventualities. There are sufficient quantities of seed of late-sown varieties of various crops and these have been dispatched to different states. Steps have also been taken to provide sufficient quantities of seeds of rabi pulses to compensate for any loss in pulses production in the kharif season, he said.


The Agriculture Minister also presented ICAR Foundation Day awards to institutes and individuals – including farmers – for excellent contribution to agricultural research, education, application of technologies, and communication. These awards are given in 16 categories ranging from research projects, tribal farming systems, dryland farming, young scientists, outstanding teachers, innovative farmers, technical books and journalism.

Ministers of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Mr Harish Rawat and Dr. Charan Das Mahant also addressed the function along with senior officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, ICAR and its institutes, Vice Chancellors of Central and State Agricultural Universities, officers of State agriculture departments and farmers.