Second Convocation of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University

Image

By A STAFF REPORTER

The Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today emphasised the need to promote agro-based industries in rural areas so as to create employment opportunities for the rural youth. Referring to the phenomena of reverse migration from cities to villages during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that entrepreneurship in agriculture can immensely benefit the Indian economy by creating jobs in areas where they are needed the most.

Addressing the second Annual Convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa at its Piprakothi Campus (East Champaran) in Bihar today, the Vice President said that the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can immensely help small and marginal farmers with forward (processing, marketing and export) and backward (input and extension services) linkages in the Food Supply Chains. Therefore, he emphasised the need to promote FPOs through handholding and capacity building, and appreciated the University for initiating training programmes in this regard. Reiterating that there is a lot of scope for food processing in India, he urged the Universities to encourage farmers in their respective region to form collectives.

Observing that Indian agriculture is characterized by marginal and small farmers with fewer resources, Mr Naidu highlighted the need for increasing the farmers’ income through various sources, including improved resource use efficiency. Calling for greater use of technology in food management to ensure food security for all, he said “The developed world is already reaping benefits from the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture and India too must harness its potential to help improve farm income.” In this regard, the Vice President asked Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University to work on the Impact Assessment of Technologies and also evaluate alternative farming techniques and their sustainability.

Lauding the farmers for record foodgrain production despite the challenges thrown by COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Naidu said that our country owes a lot to our hardworking farmers and frontline Corona warriors. Stressing that “agriculture is our basic culture,” he urged the Center and State governments, public leaders, universities and research institutions, and the media to give more importance to agriculture. “We must see that the agri-sector is given all the support that is needed for development and sustenance of agriculture,” he said.

Congratulating all the students who graduated today, the Vice President asked them to strive to excel in their chosen domain and contribute towards the growth and development of the country. On this occasion, he also praised Radha Mohan Singh, Member of Parliament and the former Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, for his efforts in establishing several farmer-centric institutes at Piprakothi, Champaran. “I am confident that all these institutes and centres will play a crucial role in alleviating the problems of small and marginal farmers of the region,” Naidu added.

850 students of agriculture and allied subjects were awarded degrees at the event. On the occassion Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan , Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other dignitaries were also present.

Image

Referring to the stellar performance of the agriculture sector despite challenges thrown by COVID-19, the Vice President said that this was the first time since 2013-14 that agriculture regained this economic prominence. Terming agriculture as one of the main pillars of the Indian economy, he exhorted the young agri-professionals to work for the development of this crucial sector.

Noting that the university is continuously evolving its research and pedagogy, the Vice President appreciated it for introducing courses in contemporary disciplines such as agricultural journalism, agro-tourism management and also for establishing a start-up incubation center to help students start their own business enterprises. “Agro-based tourism which will boost farm economy and will also act as a detox therapy for urban tourists by letting them experience the natural beauty of the place, ethnic food, unique flora and fauna,” he added.

Later in the day the Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate 6th International Dharma-Dhamma Conference at Nalanda University (NU) in Nalanda district of Bihar. The theme of the three-day conference is Role of Dharma Dhamma traditions in building a post – Covid world.

Nalanda University Vice Chancellor Sunaina Singh said 200 delegates, dignitaries, statesmen, scholars and those associated with religious organisations from across the globe will participate in the conference. Governor Phagu Chauhan, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and a minister from the Sri Lankan government will also participate in the inaugural function.