New Delhi, December 2023.
In view of decreasing land holdings and deteriorating soil, it can be possible to nourish the coming generations only through agri-tech. Experts participating in the ‘Right to Excellence: Agro-Technology Seminar 2023’ organized in New Delhi on the occasion of Farmer’s Day, stressed that any agro-technology must be economically viable and nature-friendly for its general use. It is necessary to be durable.
Underlining the importance of technology to feed the future generations, Dr. R.C. Aggarwal, Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), while announcing on this occasion, said that the study of Artificial Intelligence will be a must for agriculture students. Has been made mandatory.
The role of technology is going to be extremely important in India’s journey to nurture future generations. The need of the hour is to use artificial intelligence to tackle various challenges in the agriculture sector like identifying plant diseases and effective spraying of pesticides. Realizing its importance, study of artificial intelligence has been made mandatory for agriculture students,” said Dr RC Aggarwal.
The popularity of technology in the agricultural sector is continuously increasing, due to which this sector is also attracting a large amount of investment. But, former NABARD chief Shri Govinda Rajula Chintala cautioned that this big investment will be beneficial only when Agri-Tech will be beneficial not only for investors but also for the farmers while respecting the natural diversity of India.
Debunking the cancer-pesticide myth, Dr. RG Aggarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group, underlined the very low consumption of pesticides in India (350 grams per hectare) compared to China (1300 grams per hectare).
“Various studies have not established any link between pesticides and cancer,” Dr Aggarwal said. While addressing the program, he emphasized on the five points for comprehensive change in the scenario of Indian agriculture, promotion of organic fertilizers for healthy soil, wide use of technology by farmers, increase in water level and water management. These include construction of ponds, seed treatment and ending the government’s role as a trader in the agricultural sector.
Challenging the popular belief regarding the link between cancer and pesticides, Dr. Rakesh Sharda, Chief Scientist (Plasticulture), Punjab Agricultural University, surprisingly said that contrary to popular opinion, the use of pesticides is decreasing in Punjab. Speaking at the session “Sustainable Agriculture Technologies”, Dr Sharda argued that it was not pesticides but water pollution and heavy metals in the soil that were causing cancer.
Advocating the promotion of research in agriculture and wise use of agro-chemicals, Dr PK Singh, Agriculture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, said, “In the fight against plant diseases, the government should adopt integrated pest management system. And in fact agro-chemicals are proving helpful in tackling the ‘disorder’ in agriculture.” He stressed that an investment of Re 1 on research in agriculture gives a return of Rs 14.
Amid differences of opinion in a session on Agri-Tech regulation, Dr. Shobhana Kumar Patnaik, former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, and Dr. S.C. Dubey, Additional Director General (ADG) of Plant Protection and Biodiversity, ICAR, justified the government regulation. They need to be future-oriented, farmer friendly and promote innovation within a responsible framework. Told the one. Whereas, Mr. Vijay Sardana, a legal-technical expert in dairy, food, agribusiness and related sectors, termed agricultural regulations as stifling of innovation and called for their abolition.
Expressing the vote of thanks, Chairman of Dhanuka Group, Dr. Aggarwal strongly appealed to work towards realizing the Prime Minister’s vision for the country by making the laws related to the agriculture sector development-based and encouraging entrepreneurship and technology. Needed