Prime Minister Modi launched ICRISAT’s 50th anniversary celebrations

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New Delhi: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi visited the campus of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru, Hyderabad and launched the 50th anniversary celebrations of ICRISAT. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the ICRISAT Climate Change Research Center for Plant Protection and the ICRISAT Generation Rapid Development Center. These two facilities are dedicated to smallholder farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Prime Minister also unveiled a specially designed logo for ICRISAT and launched a commemorative stamp issued on this occasion. Governor Telangana Smt Tamilisai Soundararajan, Union Ministers Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Shri G. Kishan Reddy were among those present at the occasion.

The Prime Minister highlighted the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami and congratulated ICRISAT on its 50th anniversary. Emphasizing the importance of the next 25 years both for the country and for ICRISAT, the Prime Minister stressed the need for new goals and working for them. The Prime Minister commended ICRISAT for its contribution to helping agriculture in much of the world, including India. He appreciated their contribution in water and soil management, improvement of crop variety, on-farm diversity and livestock integration. He also praised their holistic approach to integrating farmers into their markets and promoting the production of pulses and chickpeas in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “Your research and technology have helped make farming easy and sustainable,” said Shri Modi.

The Prime Minister said those most affected by climate change are those at the bottom rung of development with few resources. Therefore, the Prime Minister reiterated India’s call on the world to pay special attention to climate change. He talked about LIFE-Lifestyle for the environment; P3 – Pro Planet People movements and India’s net zero goal by 2070. “Pro Planet People is a movement that connects every community, every individual with climate responsibility to address the climate challenge. This is not limited to mere words but is also reflected in the actions of the Indian government,” he added.

Referring to the 15 agro-climatic zones and the 6 seasons of the country, the Prime Minister underlined the depth of the ancient experience of Indian agriculture. He pointed out that India is focusing on merging “back to basics” and “marching forward” to protect its farmers from the climate challenge. “We are focusing on our more than 80% of farmers who are small and need us the most,” the Prime Minister said.

He mentioned another dimension of India’s development, namely digital agriculture which he called India’s future and pointed out that India’s talented youth can greatly contribute to it. He listed areas such as crop valuation, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients by drones which are seeing increased use of technology and artificial intelligence. “India’s efforts are steadily increasing to empower farmers through digital technology,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that in the Amrit Kaal, India is focusing on inclusive growth as well as higher agricultural growth. Women in the agricultural sector are supported by self-help groups. “Agriculture has the potential to lift a large part of the population out of poverty and into a better lifestyle. This Amrit Kaal will also bring new means to farmers in geographically difficult areas,” he said.

The Prime Minister said India is working on a dual strategy. On the one hand, much of the land is irrigated thanks to water conservation and the connection of rivers. Water use efficiency through micro-irrigation is promoted in areas with limited irrigation, on the other hand.

The Prime Minister said the national mission for self-sufficiency in edible oils indicates India’s new approach. The Mission aims to increase the area devoted to palm oil by 6 lakh hectare. “This will help Indian farmers at all levels and will prove very beneficial for farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” the Prime Minister stressed. He also dwelt on the measures taken to strengthen post-harvest infrastructure, such as the creation of a cold chain storage capacity of 35 million tonnes and the creation of an agricultural infrastructure fund of 1 lakh crore rupees.

India is also focusing on the creation of FPOs and agricultural value chain. “We want to create an alert and powerful market force among small farmers by organizing them into thousands of OPAs,” he said.

The prime minister said India’s goal is not just to increase production of food grains. India has enough surplus food grains to run one of the largest food security programs in the world. “We focus on food security as well as nutrition security. With this vision, we have developed many bio-fortified varieties over the past 7 years.”

ICRISAT is an international organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It helps farmers by providing improved crop varieties and hybrids and also helps smallholder farmers in drylands to combat climate change.

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