ADDRESS AT THE 30th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS INTERNATIONAL CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR THE SEMI-ARID TROPICS (ICRISAT)
13-12-2002 : Hyderabad
TECHNOLOGIES FOR TRANSFORMATION
I am indeed delighted to participate in the 30th Anniversary celebrations of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). I would like to congratulate the ICRISAT for their excellent contributions made in the agricultural research, especially for Semi-Arid Tropics not only for India but also for other countries. I am indeed impressed by the vision of ICRISAT to help the poor of the semi-arid tropics through Science with a Human Face and partnership-based research and to increase agricultural productivity and food security in order to reduce poverty and protect the environment. My greetings.
India's first green revolution was a result of the partnership of farmers, agricultural scientists and the political visionaries. Here, I would like to narrate an incident while I was having a meeting with Shri C. Subramaniam. He was the main architect of the first green revolution. During themeeting, I remember, at the age of 90 years, he was unfurling his vision for second green revolution. The first green revolution was the process of seed to grain. The second green revolution that he envisaged is soil to seed to grain to food to marketing. He visualised a change of chain, starting from soil to food processing and marketing, but not grain alone.
What can be the second green revolution?
The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) under the Department of Science and Technology have brought out a set of 35 Technology Vision documents, which is a pathway to realise this mission. The Technology Vision 2020 consisted of 17 technology packages in the core sectors such as agriculture and food, healthcare, infrastructure and strategic industries. The Task Teams with nearly 500 experts of our country worked for two years, deliberated national status of various branches of national development and generated 35 documents detailing the steps to be taken for creating wealth for the nation and the well being of our people. "Technology" is the most vital key for achieving the goals. The vision deals with agro food processing, food and agriculture, health-care, electric power, civil aviation, waterways, engineering industries, life sciences and bio-technology, strategic industries and materials and processing. There is a tremendous link between each technology package.
Five Mega Projects to transform the nation to Developed Country
We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for an integrated action. (1) Agriculture and food processing - we have to put a target of 360 million tons of food and agricultural production. Other areas of agriculture and agro food processing would bring prosperity to rural people and speed up the economic growth. (2) Reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country. (3) Education and Healthcare - we have seen, based on the experience, education and healthcare are inter related. (4) Information Technology - This is one of our core competence. We believe, this area can be used to promote education in remote areas and also to create national wealth. (5) Strategic sectors - This area, fortunately, witnessed the growth in nuclear technology, space technology and defence technology.
These five areas are closely inter-related and lead to national, food, economic and security. A strong partnership among the R&D, academy, Industry and the community as a whole with the Government departments will be essential to accomplish the vision.
The role of ICRISAT
ICRISAT has to play a very important role by contributing to the second green revolution which will enable India to become a developed nation in the agricultural sector. The production of cereals needs to increase from the present 200 million tonnes to 300 million tonnes. Similarly, in the case of fruits and vegetables the production needs to increase. But the requirement of land for the increasing population as well as for much greater forestation and environmental preservation activities would demand that the present 170 million hectares of arable land will have to be brought down to 100 million hectares by 2020. All our agricultural scientists and technologists have to work in this direction of doubling the productivity of the available land with lesser area available for cultivation. The type of technologies needed would be in biotechnology, proper training to the farmers, additional modern equipments for preservation and storage etc.
Integrated nutrient management continues to be a focal issue in drylands, as the fertilizer use is not like to pick up significantly unless water supply is assured. One of the reasons ascribed to low response of bio-fertilizers in drylands is their low status of soil organic matter. Soil fertility in drylands can be sustained only through maintenance of organic matter and achieving better fertilizer-use efficiency through integration of moisture-conservation practices along with soil-fertility management. Strategies for on-farm generation of organic matter in non-competitive way need to be evolved.
Another question I wanted to share with you, wherever there are people below poverty line there is also problem for the availability of water. It costs energy and money to bring water for specialised agriculture to such dry areas. What are the agricultural technologies, water conservation methodologies that can help lift the people who are below the poverty line. I feel, these are the aspects that ICRISAT should address. Solutions may be just beyond agriculture alone spanning to animal husbandry, poultry, agro processing and other related activities like medicinal plants - "kathalai".
I find whenever the use, users and implementers as well as knowledge & skill possessors are linked and networked, success comes effectively and multiplies. As it is said, a networked resource can give a non-linear progressive addition to development growth. To reach from the GDP growth of 6% to 10% rates we need such non-linear steps. Friends, ignition of young population of any country, is one of the important resources. India possesses this in plenty. India has natural resources in all key sectors. It has a good knowledge base. It may be applicable to many nations. Networking these is crucial to realise the strength. The focus of the country would be for the second vision for a Developed India by 2020.
My best wishes.