Concrete steps towards yield maximisation
Agricultural research and education has a key role in the development of an environmentally sustainable global food system, ensuring food and nutritional security and increasing farm income by cost minimisation and yield maximisation. Recognising these objectives, the National Agricultural Research System of India has produced significant results in terms of mechanisation of agriculture and development of climate resilient technologies and high yielding varieties (HYVS) of seeds, etc.
National Agricultural Research System comprising of a total of 102 Research Institutions, 63 State Agricultural Universities, 3 Central Agricultural Universities and 4 Universities having agriculture faculty besides 82 All India Coordinated Research Projects/network Projects, each having a large number of coordinating centres across the nation, is amongst the largest and strongest research systems of the World.
To ensure nutritional security through the natural food system and facing the climate change, the Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) has developed 35 special trait varieties including biofortified and stress tolerant varieties of field and horticulture crops during 2021-22, taking the tally of biofortified varieties to 87. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) during 2020 and 2021 notified/released a total of 731 new varieties/ hybrids of field crops and 98 of horticultural crops. ICAR has also designed and developed an Agri-voltaic system of 105 kw for crop production and electricity generation from a single land use system with an average photovoltaic (PV) generation of 1,29,266 kwh annual power output and a total revenue of about Rs 6 lakh. Agrivoltaic system also reduces Green House Gas (GHG) emission (598 tonnes of CO2 savings/year/ha).
Agriculture is a state subject. However, the Government of India supports and facilitates the state governments through many centrally sponsored and central sector schemes to promote modern agricultural technology amongst farmers including small and marginal ones throughout the country to boost agricultural production.
The government promotes use of new technology in agricultural research. The research by ICAR focuses on genetic enhancement of crops/livestock/ fish for high yield, quality and climate resilience, conservation of resources and development of intelligent IT enabled platforms for technology transfer among farmers and stakeholders.
The government, during 2020-21 and 2021-22, has allocated funds to the tune of Rs 1756.3 crore and Rs 2422.7 crore to the states for introducing new technologies including drones, artificial intelligence, blockchain, remote sensing and GIS in agriculture. Further, the government also allocated Rs 7302.50 and Rs 7908.18 crore in 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively to ICAR for undertaking research and development in agriculture for developing new technologies, their demonstration at farmer’s field and capacity building of farmers for adoption of new technology. ICAR has developed a clear roadmap for next 10 years harnessing the power of science and innovation for securing food and nutritional security of our people, farmers’ prosperity and to enhance the natural resource base to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development of the Indian agriculture sector.
To ensure that the newer technologies like improved variety seeds of crops, new breeds/ strains of livestock and fish and the improved production and protection technologies reach the farmers and end users in shortest possible time, technology demonstrations at the farmers’ fields in close coordination with the concerned central and state government departments and agencies are carried out. For this purpose, a network of 729 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) has been created at district level in the country. Technology transfer also happens through systems using knowledge platforms like Portals, Mobile Apps and Web based communication networks. The capacity building of farmers, farmers groups and community – based organisations like Farmers Producer Organisations, Self Help Groups etc. for acquiring knowledge and advisory for capacity building is also given focused attention. The rapid developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are used as facilitators for faster dissemination of information and technologies developed by the National Agricultural Research System. These infrastructure support and initiatives will go a long way in sustaining exponential growth of the agriculture sector by cost minimisation and yield maximisation.