Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), June 19 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked the agriculture scientists to work to raise country's annual agricultural growth rate from two percent to four percent.
Addressing the golden jubilee convocation of the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, here, Dr Singh said: "We must endeavor to raise our agricultural growth rate from around two per cent per annum to four per cent."
"Our agricultural production should increase at a rate fast enough to ensure food security for our growing population," he added.
In his address, Dr Singh also underlined the need to work towards increasing farm yields.
"To increase production we must increase our farm yields, because the scope for increasing the area under cultivation and under irrigation is rather limited. Yields must go up particularly in those parts of India where they have lagged behind compared to other parts of the country," he said.
"Without solid support from agricultural scientists and technologists it would be impossible for us to achieve our production targets," Dr Singh added.
India commands about 2.3 per cent of the world's land area and about four per cent of the earth's fresh water resources, but feeds about 17 per cent of the world's population.
This puts tremendous pressure on country's resources and makes the need for newer and better technologies even more critical.
Dr. Singh said if the growth in the country does not benefit farmers then it cannot be truly inclusive growth.
"Equally importantly, growth in our country cannot be truly inclusive if it does not benefit our farmers; especially those who are small and marginal," he said.
Dr. Singh stressed on the need to increase investment in Agriculture sector.
"Investment in the agricultural sector needs to increase, a larger area needs to be covered under irrigation, agricultural markets need to be reformed and farmers need to be provided remunerative prices for their produce and better quality seeds and inputs," he said.
He also underlined the need to build gap between research lab and farmer's land and asked to initiate actions to reach benefits of research to farmers as the earliest.
"Agricultural extension is another area which needs urgent attention, particularly from the state governments. It is often perceived to be the weakest link in the chain of transfer of technology from the research lab to the farmer's land," Dr Singh said.
"We must innovate on extension models and specifically integrate the needs of farm households so that the farmers get the latest information about an array of technologies," he added.
Dr Singh asked the Agricultural Universities and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to come forward and develop successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) models in extension of agri-related services.
During the convocation the University conferred the Honorary Doctorate to Dr Singh.
The Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology was set up in 1960 on the recommendations of the First Education Commission, led by Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.
Over the last 50 years it has made significant contributions in the development of the agriculture sector in our country in a variety of ways. It played a major role in promoting the Green Revolution. (ANI)