New Initiatives in Research and Extension

Why research and extension are needed in the agricultural sector?

1. Research and extension help in accelerating agricultural growth and prosperity of farmers.

2. This, in turn, helps in reducing rural and urban poverty.

3. The green revolution in India during the 1960s got global acclaim. This led the agricultural sector towards white (dairy, milk), blue (fish), golden (honey, horticulture, fruit) and pink (meat and poultry) revolutions.

4. Such efforts lead the nation towards attaining sustainable food, nutritional and livelihood security.

5. Natural resource base is enhanced to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

6. Analysis of soil nutrient status and water samples is helping farmers.

7. Several new initiatives were launched by the Government of India, with its commitment to double farmers’ income by 2022 to accelerate agricultural growth rate sustainably.

When was ICAR formed?

1. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was established in 1929.

2. It serves the nation as an apex body of agricultural research, education and extension under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

3. It has successfully harnessed the power of science, technology and innovation for food security, farmer’s prosperity and has catalyzed sustainable growth in the agricultural sector.

4. The scientific innovations have enabled India to increase the production of food grains, horticultural crops, fish, milk and eggs.

5. On the extension front, ICAR has 692 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (Farm Science Centres) located across the country. KVKs provide last mile connectivity to farmers and minimize the time lag between technology generation and adoption.

How the development of new varieties provided new opportunities?

1. Research has been done to develop new varieties that give higher yield and show resistance/ tolerance to pests and diseases.

2. By using High Yielding Varieties (HYV), the yield can be increased to up to 45% with efficient management of other inputs.

3. ICAR has developed and released various new crop varieties including horticultural crops in recent years.

4. Wheat variety HD CSW-18 is specifically bred for conservation agriculture to reduce water requirement and help in residue management.

5. New varieties of pulses (Virat), rice (CR Dhan 310), fruit crops, etc have been launched.

6. GM Bt cotton varieties are developed which are cheaper than BT cotton hybrids and are tolerant of devastating cotton bollworm.

What have been the improvements in Livestock sector?

1. Livestock (including poultry and fisheries) play a central role in the livelihood of farmers by assuring additional income and also an ‘insurance’ against climate distress.

2. Various breeds of popular livestock species have been developed for higher production.

3. The new varieties include “Jharism” poultry bird, ‘Abhishan’ sheep, pig, etc.

4. Indigenous vaccines and diagnostic kits were launched by ICAR institutes against diseases like sheep pox, classical swine fever, etc.

5. In the fisheries sector, the technology of marine cage culture (of high-value cobia and Silver Pompano fishes) is very helpful in coastal regions.

6. State-of-art fishing vessel is being used.

How Integrated Farming improves income?

1. Integrated Farming System (IFS) has the potential to increase farmers’ income and site-specific employment to small landholders.

2. IFS cuts-down cultivation cost through multiple uses of resources and provides resilience to climate change scenario.

3. IFS include blending of crops, horticulture, dairy, fishery, poultry, etc.

4. Solar PV modules help in electricity generation and rainwater harvested from PV modules can be used as supplemental irrigation to crops.

Which are the efforts taken to transfer technology from lab to land?

1. Technology transfer is needed to convert research outputs into farming outputs.

2. Krishi Vigyan Kendras are extending training and technology support to farmers.

3. Massive campaigns are motivating farmers against the burning of straws and in fields.

4. Demonstrations are done by ICAR to show climate resilient and integrated farming technologies to address the challenge of climate change.

5. Schemes like ‘Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav’, ‘Attracting and Attaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA)’, “FARMER first’ are helping farmers to bring an effective alliance between agricultural research and extension.

6. All such efforts will pave way for higher agricultural growth and prosperity of farmers.