Decline in farm output is cause of concern: President

RSTV Bureau
President Pranab Mukherjee at the 54th Convocation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi on February 05, 2016.

President Pranab Mukherjee at the 54th Convocation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi on February 05, 2016.

President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed grave concerns over the likely decline in the farm output for the second straight year due to deficient rains. The problem was aggravated due to unseasonal rains and floods in some parts of the country that had damaged the crops.

Addressing a gathering of agriculture scientists in New Delhi, the President said that despite the advancements made, Indian agriculture is yet to be completely get out of the clutches of weather.

“Nature has not been kind to us this year as well. A deficient monsoon followed by a further dry spell is likely to affect agricultural production for the second year in a row. This is an area of grave concern. The time is ripe for some serious efforts as 80 per cent of the area under cultivation in India is in the grip of severe climatic conditions like drought, floods and cyclones,” said President Mukherjee.

He also called for serious efforts to overcome the challenge and make Indian agriculture sector resilient to weather fluctuations.

He asked the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) to develop climate resilient technological solutions by leveraging opportunities from frontier science like biotechnology and nano-technology. Mukherjee also spoke about import dependence on pulses and edible oils.

President also pointed out that the country’s foodgrain production fell to 253 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record 265 million tonnes in 2013-14 on account of 12 per cent deficit in rainfall.

Stating that global climate change could aggravate these problems, Mukherjee said the IARI must leverage opportunities from frontier sciences such as biotechnology, synthetic biology, nano-technology, computational biology, sensor technology and geo-spatial technology to develop climate- resilient technological solutions.

“Innovation in agricultural techniques and practices must be supported through infusion of funds, mentoring of ideas, and technical assistance. The risk-taking ability of farmers must be boosted. The newly-launched crop insurance scheme will leverage technology to provide risk cover to the farmers,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies).