Inaugurating the first-ever National Agrochemical Congress in New Delhi, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar exhorted that there is a need to address the issues of small and marginal farmers through the generation of knowledge access platforms and provision of basic agricultural inputs at affordable costs. These farmers predominantly comprise around 86% of the farm sector today and their contribution towards the national economy is quite significant. The National Agrochemicals Congress with the theme ‘Country’s Status on Various Fronts of Agrochemicals’ is being held in Pusa, New Delhi from 13 to 16 November.
He added that earlier there was a time when the agriculture sector was not fully equipped but now with concerted efforts of farmers, scientists, and Government interventions like Direct Benefit Transfer, Crop Insurance and other initiatives, India’s agriculture sector is flourishing and is now a safe sector. By 2050, if the ongoing surge in population continues, tons of more food grains will be required to be produced. It is going to be a challenge.
Tomar said that there is an urgent need to shift focus from sustainable production to sustainable agri-food systems keeping in mind the climatic conditions and water conservation aspects of the country. To alleviate the stress of Indian farmers, farming has to be transformed from low key activity to a fully structured and profitable livelihood profession. A ‘Farmer FIRST’ approach has to be adopted by all the stakeholders involved at various levels including government, industry, scientists and extension machinery. He requested all the stakeholders in the farm sector to come together and work together rather than working aloof, in order to make the sector prosperous and thus ultimately contributing to the nation’s progress.
The Minister said that farmers in India have been the crusaders of several revolutions in agriculture. What they need now are appropriate technologies and proper skilling. Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), the premier institute of agricultural research and education in the country has made many contributions towards farmers’ as well as nation’s prosperity through generation and dissemination of cutting-edge technologies for various agro-ecological situations. The Institute has also developed several innovative extension methodologies for transfer of farm technologies across the country.
The need of the hour is to enhance the efficiency of extension system to accelerate the diffusion of innovations among the farmers. The contribution of agro-scientists in the sector of agrochemicals is praiseworthy. They have made phenomenal contributions in the development, formulation and environmental safety aspects of agrochemicals including biopesticides, hydrogels, knowhows for the synthesis of molecules and are contributing significantly in training manpower in the field of agrochemicals through training, teaching and extension programmes.
The Congress is conducted in view of the relevance chemical pesticides still continue to play in pest management as more and more target-specific and environment-friendly products are being introduced. The benefits of pesticide use are high relative to their risks. New concepts in crops, human health, resource management, nanotechnology, smart formulations and related sciences are likely to boost agricultural productivity. With this background, the current status of agrochemicals on various fronts will be collated for researchers and policymakers in order to ensure agriculture grow in a sustainable manner.