Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh said on Thursday , October 13 that the ‘Purple Revolution’ originating from Jammu & Kashmir offers attractive Start-up avenues and those who have entered the lavender sector are making a fortune out of it .
“Sustainable Agricultural Innovations for Resilient Agri-Food Systems” Dr Jitendra
Dr Jitendra Singh, While addressing a Conference on “Sustainable Agricultural Innovations for Resilient Agri-Food Systems” at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) on Thursday , mentioned a series of pro-agriculture reforms launched by the Modi government.
He also spoke about several innovative decisions like new guidelines for geospatial technology and relaxation in the regulations for developing drones. They are also setting provisions for agri-startups and today’s agriculture entrepreneurs.
Alluding to the theme of the Conference- “Sustainable Agricultural Innovations for Resilient Agri-Food Systems” Dr Jitendra Singh said sustainable innovations are the prerequisites for sustainable Startups and sustainable means of livelihood. To attain this, He highlighted the importance of linking with industry right from the starting and making industry an equal stakeholder so that the research projects are determined by the requirements of the industry.
Modi government had brought in an amendment in the hundred year old Indian Forest Act
The minister said that ‘Modi government had brought in a modification in the hundred year old Indian Forest Act that was implemented by the British government and because of this amendment, the home-grown Bamboo has been exempted from the Forest Act as a result of which the youth could make use of the versatile properties of Bamboo for agriculture entrepreneurship as well as in other sectors.
He said, even in their immediate neighborhood there are huge reserves of bamboo in districts like Reasi and Kathua but those were never appropriately explored.
Agriculture development is one of the most powerful tools to end economic constraints
‘Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to boost shared prosperity, end economic constraints and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050’, said Dr Jitendra Singh. He added that healthy, inclusive and sustainable food systems are critical to achieve the world’s development goals. However, the minister emphasized the need to address the climate related problems to avoid their harmful effect on the agriculture sector.
‘In the upcoming 25 years of Amrit Kaal,Jammu & Kashmir and several hill territories along with the Himalayan States are going to make an important value edition to strengthen India’s future economy because the resources of these territories have remained under-utilized in the past’,said Dr Rajendra Singh. These states & territories are going to play a pivotal role in placing India on the world pedestal by 2047 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving a focussed attention to these areas, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Agriculture, Forestry, and land use change are responsible for about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in the agriculture sector is part of the solution to the change in climate. He said, the world faces a dilemma, whether they should stay with those innovations that were successful in yields but risk catastrophic climate change, jeopardizing those yields or to go on with innovations in agricultural technology so that we don’t have to suffer those risks from climate change.
He also gave an example of the Green Revolution, where the yield really rose and that is a benefit but second those benefits came with serious drawbacks and in some cases economic development was fluctuating and people ended up worse off than they were before. In other cases, we faced serious agricultural pollution due to the agro-chemicals and pests becoming resistant to pesticides with risks continuing those high yields.
Policy makers and agricultural scientists in India are working hard on improving livelihoods and creating more jobs
‘Agricultural scientists and policy makers in India are diligent on improving livelihoods and creating more and better jobs, including for youth and women, ameliorating food security for all, including access to safe and nutritious food and making agriculture and food more sustainable and more climate-friendly, while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions’, said Dr Jitendra Singh.
He also added,’The areas which will ensure sustainability of agriculture are genetic innovations for climate-resilient agri-food systems, biodiversity conservation, carbon neutrality, reducing use of fossil fuels in agriculture, and pest management innovations’. Also , ‘The agricultural innovations to enhance food security and productivity in a sustainable manner, restoration of natural resources, future of farming, climate resilient food solutions, agricultural sensors, public health and food safety and farming drones are important issues concerning the agricultural world including India’.
While concluding, Dr Jitendra said that, ‘In the 20th century Agriculture has changed dramatically as food and fiber productivity rose as the new technologies, specialization, mechanization, government policies and increased chemical use that favored maximizing production and minimizing food prices. But, the challenges that stand before the 21st century ranging from pest attacks to climate change and conflicts could create a threat .
The Minister said, “ I am convinced that agricultural scientists are proficient enough to help India lead the way”.