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Agricultural Research Plays Significant Role in Food Security: Agri Minister

On 18 September 2021 in Delhi, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, attended the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial meeting organized by the Italian Presidency, along with a four-member Indian delegation.

Ayushi Raina
Narendra Singh Tomar
Narendra Singh Tomar

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar participated in the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial meeting organized by Italy, the country that holds the Presidency of G20.

Addressing the session on "Research as a driving force behind sustainability", the Minister said that agricultural research has played an important role in tackling the problem of food security, doubling the income of farmers and agriculturists and sustainable use of natural resources for the subsistence of the people. Research contributes notably to the three aspects of food security i.e. availability, access and affordability.

Tomar added that agricultural research in India has played a major role in transforming the country from food importer to exporter. Integrated research efforts can develop a package of techniques and methodologies for better soil productivity, water management for storage, expansion and efficiency. Technological progress is the key to solving the challenges facing mankind. Today, India is not only in the realm of food security with 308 million tonnes of food grains produced annually, but is also catering to other countries. India has experienced a revolution in the field of agricultural produce due to the efficient research of scientists. Oilseeds Technology Mission has doubled oilseeds production in 10 years, while India has made great progress in pulses production in recent times due to introduction of new varieties in seed system. The call of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in this regard has had a special effect.

He said that India's population is expected to exceed 150 crore by the year 2030-31, for which the demand for food grains is then estimated to be around 350 million tonnes. Similarly, the demand for edible oils, milk and milk products, meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits and sugar will increase significantly. In comparison, natural resources are limited and there is also the challenge of climate change. Strategy to meet the increased demand revolves around increasing productivity and increasing farmers' income. Agriculture is one of the three biggest challenges of the 21st century – achieving food security, adapting to climate change and mitigating climate change. Important resources like water, energy and land are depleting rapidly. There is a need for sustainability in agriculture, including increasing production and income simultaneously, adapting to climate change by balancing crop, livestock, fisheries and agro-forestry systems, increasing resource use efficiency, protecting the environment and maintaining ecosystem services are included.

He said that to make the country self-reliant, concerted efforts in agricultural research on genomics, digital agriculture, climate-smart technologies & methods, efficient water use equipment, development of high yielding and bio-friendly varieties, systematic production, quality and safety standards would continue. To attain environmental sustainability as well as adequate and nutritious food to protect against extreme climate change, agricultural research and development must be reconsidered and adapted, including increased investment in scientific research. 17 biotic and abiotic stress-resistant crop cultivars have been developed and released.

Similarly, ICAR is working on bio-fortified cultivars to satisfy people's nutritional needs. The National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture, which promotes the use of integrated agricultural systems in agriculture, has been launched. Agriculture value chain research and development benefits the people, as well as increased production through trade promotion. India will continue its efforts to cooperate in the exchange of best practices in development and program related interventions.

Besides Agriculture Minister, the Indian delegation included Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Joint Secretary Ms. Alaknanda Dayal, Dr B Rajender and senior Indian Embassy officials.

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