President Ram Nath Kovind Friday urged the premier agri-institute IARI to set up an innovation and incubation centre to promote agri-business and called on venture capitalists to infuse funds in it, stating that the government is working towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Young scientists and agri-graduates must harness the unexplored potential that still existing in the farm sector, he said while lauding the efforts of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in making India self-reliant in food.
The President also advised students to become an “agent of change” and contribute for welfare of the farming community
Addressing 56th convocation of the post graduate school of IARI here, Kovind mentioned that “Mahatma Gandhi had said agriculture is the pillar of the country’s economy. This is true even today. The country’s priority is to improve the income of farmers in rural areas.”
The government is working towards achieving the goal of doubling farmers income by 2022 and “students have potential to contribute in this endeavour”, he emphasised.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Trilochan Mohapatra and IARI Director A K Singh were among others present at the event.
Urging the passing out agri-graduates to become farm entrepreneurs, the President suggested them to take advantage of government schemes like Mudra to start their own ventures in the field of agriculture.
While the IARI provides short term training to students on setting up agri-business, but there is a need to establish an Innovation or Incubation Centre.
“To help students to start agri-business, the institute must set up innovation or incubation centre. There are many schemes launched to help set up agri-business. For example, Mudra scheme provides loan and even VCs should come forward to invest,” he added.
The focus should be on innovation considering limited natural resources amid rising population, he said.
“From seed to market, there is huge potential for innovation. Students can contribute in a big way. You have potential to become an agent of change,” he said.
Thanks to IARI’s research work and crop varieties, the country has transformed from food importer to an exporter, he said.
The country’s foodgrain production has touched 276 million tonnes, horticulture at 300 million tonnes, milk at 164 million litres and fish at 11 million tonnes last year, he added.
The President further said that some young agri-graduates have taken farming as career after passing out from this institute and are doing good work. They have adopted better techniques and that will inspire other farmers.
He also lauded IARI alumni like M S Swaminathan, Sanjay Rajaram, S K Bhaskar, V L Chopra and R S Paroda and B K Singh for their research contribution in boosting farm output.