The country is in need of a second green revolution and this can be achieved only through modern science and technology, said former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, while releasing the Strategy Paper for the Mission on Primary Sector developed by ICRISAT for the Andhra Pradesh Government.
The strategy paper “Agricultural Transformation in Andhra Pradesh: Equitable, Scientific, Prosperous and Climate Smart” was released at an event on 6 October by Dr Kalam, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar, State ministers and senior government officials. More than 16,000 farmers, Directors of national research institutions, Vice Chancellors of agricultural universities, and media personnel attended the event at Garudapuram village in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
The strategy stresses on the transformation from a sectoral to a holistic approach, subsistence to marketable surplus and profitability, and from vulnerability to sustainability using science-led development through a consortium approach. The strategy paper also focuses on the need for upgrading delivery systems and agri-businesses through an effective governance and policy framework.
It also envisages bridging the large gaps in crop yields, enhancing agriculture in the state through enabling policies, and promoting institutions to encourage innovations in crop production, value chains, market linkages and value addition.
“In order to address the goal of food security, India has to produce 350 million tons by 2030 as against the current production of 260 million tons. With growing population and increasing incomes, the demand for food will increase along with the growing scarcity of water and land for agricultural production,” said Dr Kalam.
He appreciated the technical support provided by ICRISAT and other institutions in preparing the strategy paper for the Primary Sector Mission. The Primary Sector is one of the seven missions planned as part of the Swarnandhra Vision 2029.
Speaking at the event, Dr Dar said the strategy would concentrate on empowering the farming sector by improving the quality of produce. He also elaborated on an Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) approach using science-led development and by building partnerships, including public-private partnerships. “Scientific agriculture needs to be strengthened and popularized by adopting a mission mode approach through the principle of convergence, capacity building and collective action,” Dr Dar added.
Based on the experiences and learnings of the Bhoochetana project, Dr Suhas P Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Center (IDC), and Dr KV Raju, Assistant Director, IDC, assisted the State Government in preparing the strategy.
Dr Kalam and Mr Naidu also launched the Telugu book ‘Nirupeda Kanchamlo Nindubhojanam (Life History of Dr William Dar)’ by Mr D Vizaibhaskar.
In his address, Mr Naidu lauded ICRISAT’s efforts and thanked Dr Dar and his team for putting together the experiences and food practices from 55 countries across the globe for the benefit of smallholder farmers of Andhra Pradesh. He stated that the aspirational goal of the Primary Sector Mission is to elevate Andhra Pradesh so that it falls in the top three agriculturally developed states by 2022 and to ensure prosperity for farmers through inclusive and sustainable development.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the use of rainwater harvesting and the efficient use of water through sprinklers, drip systems, for drought proofing the State. He said the government would provide necessary support by investing in cold storages and in linking farmers to markets. Mr Naidu also underlined the use of new technologies in agriculture to enhance employment opportunities for youth in rural areas.
Dr Kalam, Mr Naidu and other delegates visited the stall set up by ICRISAT and enquired about the technologies and products developed by the institute.