Address by Governor at the Inauguration of the New Building of the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology, Yavatmal
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Inauguration of the New Building of the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology, Yavatmal at 1530 hrs on 20th December 2017
Shri Pandurang Fundkar, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Madan Yeravar, Guardian Minister of Yavatmal, Shri Sanjay Rathod, Minister of State for Revenue, Shri Sadashiv Khot, Minister of State for Agriculture and Horticulture and Marketing, Shri Kishore Tiwari, President Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalambhan Mission, Dr. V.M. Bhale, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapith, distinguished invitees, officials, farmers, members of faculty, staff, students, ladies and gentlemen,
I am indeed delighted to associate myself with the Inauguration of the New Building of the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology.
I understand that this is the first government agricultural biotechnology college in the entire Vidarbha region which has been functioning from the year 2013.
It is only appropriate that the new building complex, equipped with the best infrastructure and modern amenities, and having separate hostels for boys and girls has been created.
I congratulate the Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapith and more particularly the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology on this happy occasion. I also convey my felicitations to the Director, Deans, members of faculty, staff, students and researchers for whom these wonderful facilities have been created.
Sisters and brothers,
Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, late Shri Vasantrao Naik, whose name this College bears, was deeply concerned about the welfare of our farmers. Many of you might know that Maharashtra had witnessed one of the worst droughts during his tenure from 1970 to 1973. He was instrumental in setting up agricultural universities, and devising a host of schemes to reduce the sufferings of the farmers.
His name should serve as a constant reminder to all of us to remain considerate towards our farmers. Time has come for our agricultural colleges and universities to rise to the occasion once again and respond to the challenges faced by the agriculture sector and our farmers in the State.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During the last few years, farmers in our State, as indeed elsewhere in the country, have had to bear the brunt of grave farm crises due to elusive monsoon.
Climate Change is already putting great stress on our agriculture, food systems and rural livelihoods. It is threatening agricultural production and livelihood.
Climate change is manifesting itself in the form of droughts, floods, rising sea level and so on. We in Maharashtra need enhanced and concerted action to reduce the impact of climate change on agriculture.
It is a fact that problems in the agriculture sector are multi dimensional involving a whole lot of issues ranging from input supply to marketing of the produce. I am pleased to mention that the Government – both at the Centre and in Maharashtra attach highest priority to agriculture.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India gave the slogan of ‘Per Drop More Crop’. He has also spoken of invigorating the agriculture sector with new technology, so that the income of farmers could be doubled by the year 2022.
In order to achieve this goal, education and research in our Agricultural universities must become farmer-centric. The degree programmes and research programmes will have no meaning unless they benefit our farmers and agriculturists.
Our scientists and the agriculture department must identify the problems faced by the farmers and based on that, decide research priorities and interventions through extension activities.
Quite often there is total disconnect between the priorities of farmers and those of our research institutions or universities. I do feel that research priorities of universities must be decided by an inter-disciplinary team and in consultation with the farmers themselves. Our ultimate goals should be to enhance the net farm income of farmers, to minimize the risks and vagaries of nature, rejuvenate the soil, to optimize the use of available water, to modernize the production process, to create market intelligence system, to identify needs of storage and market infrastructure and the mechanisms to create it.
The field of agriculture-based biotechnology is evolving everyday, creating immense possibilities for our farmers and offering numerous career opportunities for students and researchers.
India is facing a massive challenge of feeding the 1.25 billion people with limited cultivable land and enhanced burden on natural resources. It is now believed that conventional approaches alone cannot deliver the desired output. Frontier areas of biotechnology and nono-technology will have to be explored to provide us path breaking solutions to these challenges. I am sure, biotechnologists from our universities will come up with their own genetically modified crops which can be made available to our farmers at affordable prices.
In the recent past, Vidarbha, has witnessed the problem of pests and also the pesticide issue. It is unfortunate that some farmers lost their lives due to exposure to pesticides. I do feel that biotechnologists should develop technological interventions to provide solutions to these problems. Urgent interventions are needed to contain the adverse impact of pesticides on environment and to ensure its safety for humans, animals and birds.
I will appeal to the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology to start a Post Graduate Progarmme here. We should be able to offer some of the most advanced programmes, comparable to those offered by the best universities in the world, to our students.
It is my dream to see at least one agriculture university in Maharashtra becoming a world class university, known for its farmer – centric research, innovation and extension work.
Brothers and Sisters,
Maharashtra has become a leading state in horticulture in the country. The State ranks first in terms of area, production and export of Alphonso Mangoes, Grapes, banana, pomegranate and Nagpur Oranges. Promoting food processing can help us add value to our farm produce, generate employment opportunities and reduce wastage of perishable food commodities, which is almost 25 per cent.
As Chancellor of agricultural universities in the State, I am proud to state that some of our universities are doing excellent research and innovation. We need strong industry – academic linkages to translate innovative ideas and research taking place in the universities into marketable products and services.
Finally, I would like to tell my farmer brothers and sisters that they must go for integrated farming system approach, involving small scale agro based enterprises like Dairy, Poultry, Tissue Culture, Biofertilizers, etc.
I wish to see an institutional framework for two-way communication between our farmers and university scientists. Through regular interaction, the State Government, Agriculture Universities and our farmers can achieve the goal of sustainable agriculture. You have all my best wishes in your endeavours.
With these words, I congratulate the University and the Vasantrao Naik College of Agricultural Biotechnology on the occasion of inauguration of the New Building Complex and wish you all success in your future endeavours.
Jai Hind ! jai Maharashtra !!