Agro climatic change poses challenge to agriculture: Rai

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 26 (UNI) Agro climatic change has posed a slew of challenges to agriculturists and a strategy should be developed to face the emerging problems and increase productivity, Union Secretary for Agriculture Research and Education Mangala Rai said here today.

Mr Rai told mediapersons here that sector specific institutions like Biotic Stress Management institute, Abiotic Institute and institute on Bio-Technology should be set up to manage pests, insects, salinity and acidity of soil, gene transfer, calamity management and increased production.

He said while the biotic stress management institute would work solely for controlling insects, pests and fungal problems, the Abiotic institute would deal with problems created by natural calamities like flood, drought and heat.

Mr Rai said such an institution was needed as out of 12 hottest years during the last 100 years, ten had already figured in last decade. The institute would also deal with the salinity and soil acidity problem, he said While seven million hectares of cultivable land suffered from the problem of salinity,nearly 25 million hectares suffered from soil acidity, he said adding that they were the bottleneck in the high productivity and should be addressed scientifically.

The ICAR Director General said in next couple of years there would be serious constraints of human resources and stressed that investment should be made on research and development and education sector to help the country compete globally.

Mr Rai said the scientists should develop a strategy to transfer the technology developed in the labs to farmers and manage the scarce water resources to increase food production.

The NREG programme should be utilised for the better utilisation of the water resources, he said and called for diversification of crop, value addition, development of vegetable resistant to biotic pressure.

Mr Rai said there was enough scope for development of backyard poultry in rural areas but very little was done to achieve it.

The farmers, he said should go for cash crops cultivation in post flood period in the areas devastated by flood to make up for the crop loss. The farmers, he said should grow green gram, black gram and rice variety which could resist the flood and give more production.

The issue was discussed by the scientists who gathered here to participate in the two day-long Regional Committee-II meeting.They also debated as to how to make available vegetable seeds, fingerlings to farmers, transport feed and fodder and vaccinate the live stocks immediately.

The Director General said ICAR wanted to set up a world class laboratory here at an estimated cost of Rs 43 crore for the treatment of Foot and MMouth disease of the cattle. The laboratory, he said would be set up within a month if the state government committed to provide uninterrupted power and water supply and a approach road to the proposed laboratory.

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