Emphasis on addressing climate change issues for safe and sustainable crop production

Raj Kumar, Ranchi: Director (agriculture) Nisha Oraon Singhmarr today urged the scientists to devise strategies for properly addressing the climate change and environmental issues to ensure safe and sustainable food production without damaging the natural resources and biodiversity.

She stressed on prioritizing research focus on health food and high value crops to meet the changing demand pattern and ensure higher return to farmers.

Addressing the 41st Kharif Council of Birsa Agricultural University as chief guest on Monday, she emphasized on judicious application of chemical fertilizers in crops for survival and growth of soil microorganisms facilitating soil fertility enhancement and absorption of nutrients by plants.

She said 10 lakh hectare cultivable land of the state was acidic and 3 lakh hectares was degradable, scientists should work on reviving and utilizing this land gainfully. She also underlined the need of close coordination between bureaucrats, planners and scientists for bridging the gap between lab to land and maximizing technology outreach.

She said state government has created an agricultural infrastructure fund for preservation and marketing of perishable farm produce. Every farmer will be provided with unique ID for identifying beneficiaries of schemes. In Jharkhand, agriculture is not only a livelihood but also a very old culture, scientists should try to improve and refine the traditional farm practices with modern tools & techniques.

BAU Vice Chancellor Dr Onkar Nath Singh said that BAU was marching ahead on teaching, research, technology transfer and seed production fronts with the continued support of the state government. Issues of new colleges related to infrastructure facilities and human resource will be thrashed out soon with the combined effort of the university and state government, he said.

Former Vice Chancellor of Bihar Agricultural University, Bhagalpur Dr AK Singh suggested that formulation and handling of two research projects by every scientist be made mandatory. State Government should provide Rs fifty thousand for every Ph D student annually and Rs twenty five thousand for each M Sc student to improve the quality of curricular research, he stressed.

Presenting an overview of research achievements BAU, Director Research Dr A Wadood said that total food grains production in Jhrakhand last year was record 72 lakh tones out of which 51 lakh tones was rice only.

Wadood said total amount of rainfall during recent years has increased but number of rainy days has decreased leading to long dry spells during critical crop growth stages.

Dr DK Singh Dron, former Director Research of BAU said that state government should also support research projects also so that research programmes as per the regional aspirations, local needs and farmers priorities could be carried out. At present, even a single research project supported by the state or the institution was not under operation in BAU.

Dr SB Pandey, former Head of Soil Science Dept, Rajendra Agricultural University, Samastipur said that agricultural universities are not known for buildings and infrastructure but for research papers published in national and international journals which are source of knowledge for others. He stressed that 20% of research budget should be allocated to fundamental research.