ADDRESS AT THE DEMONSTRATION OF BIO-DIESEL TECHNOLOGY AND INTERACTION WITH STUDENTS AT ANAND AGRICULTURAL UNIVIERSITY, ANAND
14-12-2004 : Anand
RESEARCH MISSIONS IN SECOND GREEN REVOLUTION
I am indeed delighted to participate in the demonstration of Bio-diesel Technology and Interact with the Students of Anand Agricultural University. I take this opportunity to wish the University students for their academic performance. I greet the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Professors, teachers and staff for shaping the young minds to contribute to the nation in multiple fields. Dear graduates, when you go out of this university, the education and empowerment that you have received will be with you to meet any challenge. You will be a winner if you have a high aim, if you can sweat for achieving the aim and indomitable spirit to overcome any problem you face in your life.
I would like discuss with you on the topic ?Research Missions in the Second Green Revolution?.
Agriculture and agro food processing
As you all know that India is now producing more than 200 million tonnes of food grains, as a result of the first green revolution piloted by the political leadership of Shri. C. Subramaniam, the scientific leadership of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and willing farmers. India has now embarked on Second Green Revolution which will enable increase in productivity and diversification of the agricultural sector. The second green revolution will have the farmers in focus, farming technology as the friend, food processing and marketing as partners and the consumers as the angels to be satisfied. From now on to 2020, India will gradually increase the production to around 400 million tonnes of grains. The increase in the production will have to be done under the reduced availability of land from 170 million hectares to 100 million hectares with reduced water availability. We should also learn to diversify to meet specific consumer preferences, export markets and also in the interest of ecological balance. This is to be achieved through information access to all stakeholders and not with central controls or restriction of movements of agro products.
One of the very important missions for India is employment generation at various levels. Now I would like to discuss on our employment potential, problems and suggested employment generators.
Employment Generation through Rural enterprises
India has 700 million people living in 600 thousand villages. Therefore rural sector is a big market. We need enterprises to service this need and generate a large scale employment. Entrepreneurs and captains of industries assembled here have a great business opportunity.
Total eligible aspiring youth at any time in the country are 400 million. Estimated unemployment reported in the year 2004 is about 36 million, which is 9% of eligible employable population. Some of the important areas of employment are in the Jatropha plantation, extraction and processing (around 12 million); dryland farming, herbal cultivation and social forestry around 20 million); lighting through non conventional energy, tourism and water missions (around 4 million).
I would like to discuss in detail some of the large-scale employment and wealth generating avenues in the rural sector.
Bio-fuel - Jatropha
We have nearly 63 million hectares of wasteland available in the country, out of which 33 million hectares of wasteland have been allotted for tree plantation. Particularly in Gujarat nearly 2 million hectares of culturable land is available. Jatropha can grow well in this wasteland with very little input. Once grown the crop has a fifty years of life. Fruiting can take place in this plant in two years. It yields upto five tonnes per hectares oil seeds and produces two tones of bio-diesel. Presently, the cost of bio-diesel through the plant is approximately Rs. 17 to Rs. 19 per liter which can be substantially reduced through choice of right size of the plant and using high yield variety plantation which has already been established by the researchers. Bio-diesel plants grown in one million hectares of land can yield a revenue of approximately Rs. 2,000 crore a year and provide employment to over one million people both for plantation and running of the extraction plants. This is a sustainable development process leading to large scale employment of rural manpower. Also, it will reduce the foreign exchange outflow paid for importing crude oil, the cost of which is continuously rising in the international market. Use of Bio-diesel is Carbon mono-oxide emission free. This oil can also be used for soap and candle industries. De-oiled cake is a raw material for composting and plantation is good for honey production. We should absorb best of the technologies available worldwide and start commercial operation soon, instead of staying at pilot plant levels.
Create Bio-fuel Enterprises
There has been a successful experiment which has been carried out by Daimler ? Benz in collaboration with CSIR laboratories of running a Benz car from Pune to Delhi using 10% blend of Bio-fuel, without any modification to the engine. Now is the time, for the Anand Agricultural University to come out with the proposal which can provide answers to all the questions of the farmers, financial institutions, entrepreneurs who are keen to setup the fully integrated bio-diesel plant using Jatropha seeds from the plantation to production of bio-diesel, by-products and their marketing. It is said that number of foreign consultants has shown interest in taking up Jatropha plantation and commissioning of plants in different areas in the country. Before they establish such plants, I would recommend the Anand Agricultural University to take the lead and enable establishment of model bio-diesel plants with the inputs of Jatropha coming from minimum 1000 hectares in Gujarat. This is the way the University can play a proactive role of creating bio-diesel enterprises generating large scale employment for farmers in the rural sector and youth in industries. It will also provide a clean environment.
Electricity Generation through Municipal Waste
Increased urbanization has led to a serious problem of accumulation of municipal solid waste. Efficient and environmentally clean disposal of garbage has always been a major technological challenge. While being a threat to the environment, mounting garbage is also a rich source of energy. The potential for converting this waste into useable energy, which will eliminate a major source of urban pollution, was realized by one of our innovative organizations- Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council of DST which helped in developing a completely indigenous solution for the processing of waste into a source of fuel. This fuel could, in turn, be used for generation of electricity through mini plants. Two entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh adopted the technology with refinement and established two independent plants in Hyderabad and Vijayawada generating over 12 megawatts of electricity which is being supplied to the State Grid. India needs thousands of mini power plants using municipal waste. Industrial sector can provide the thrust for promoting creation of such power plants in major municipalities as first step in collaboration with banks and non-governmental organizations.
These are some of the examples of rural development projects which can be promoted by the industry with the active participation of banks for upliftment of the 700 million people living in our villages. There are similar possibilities in water, habitat, infrastructure, ICT, Agriculture and many more. Once the industries get committed in all these sectors in a proactive manner, I am sure the path to development will be much smoother and our realization of development will be much faster.
Challenges for Scientists
The challenges for the scientists and technologies would be in the areas of development of seeds that would ensure good yield even under constraints of water and land with ecologically balanced farming. The challenges for the scientist is indeed a knowledge graduation from characterization of soil to the matching of the seed with the composition of the fertilizer, water management and evolving new pre-harvesting techniques for such conditions. The domain of farming would enlarge from grain production to food processing and marketing. I visualize the state-of-the-art food processing industries for enabling the farmers and village enterprises to learn and produce products which are competitive in both national and international market. The Anand Co-operative model has been performing very well and many States are emulating this model. We need constant research and updates for improving the co-operative entities for ensuring maximum benefit to the farmers. E-marketing concepts may also be put into practice to provide farmers choices in selling. Some of the areas which need focus are: soil upgradation, dry land agriculture, temperature and salinity resistant seeds and minimum water cultivation. There have been successful experiments carried out by TIFAC team in Bihar, where per hectare output of wheat has been tripled by farmers in collaboration with agricultural scientists through scientific methods. As a result, the earnings of the participating farmers have remarkably improved. Such experiments can be replicated in Gujarat carefully tailored to local conditions. This is a crucial socio-economic need.
ICT and Agriculture
ICT is a potent tool in various sectors of activities in public domain, and agriculture is no exception. Demand and supply monitoring of inputs, dissemination of technologies relevant to farming community through various organizations including universities, making available marketing information at grass root level are some of the usage of ICT in agriculture. Covering each and every farm family through village Panchayat knowledge centres, Internet and community radio should be the aim for greater usage of ICT. Successful models of effective communication to the farm community through the use of ICT accomplished in different states can be studied by the University for implementation in Gujarat.
Advances in science particularly in Biotechnology, Information Technology and Nano-technology are expected to bring a significant change in the agricultural growth trajectory. One of our core competence is biodiversity. India is one of the 12 mega-biodiversity centres of the world, with more than 12% of flora, 15% of fauna and 10% of aquatic biota. Biodiversity integrated with technology ? for developing a genetically engineered seed or transforming a molecule extracted from an herb into a drug, adds dramatic value that can be a wealth generator for the nation.
The Anand Agricultural University has to focus on research areas in agriculture and allied sciences to enable the second green revolution to reach the production target of 400 million tons of food grains per year by the year 2020. This has to be done in partnership with farmers and young entrepreneurs.
I would like to compliment the Anand Agricultural University for creating a bio-fuel technology demonstrator facility. I wish all the members of the Anand Agricultural University community success in their mission of contributing towards promotion of a happy, prosperous and peaceful Gujarat State.
My best wishes to you all. May God bless you.
Questions and Answers Session
1. IITs and IIMs (most reputed institutes of India) have been USA?s rather than India?s gain, while Agricultural Universities are the gain of India. What are your comments?
- Sandeep, 5th Semester, Agriculture.
Ans.There are number of IITs and IIMs graduates contributing to the Indian Economy. Some of the institutions like NIIT (Shri Rajendra S Pawar), Samtel Industries, BAIF (Shri Narayan G. Hegde, are being headed by IIT / IIM graduates. Similarly number of our graduates from Indian Agriculture Universities are contributing for the agriculture revolution in India.
2. To cope with the increasing prices of fuels, how soon are we going to have a bio-diesel filling station?.
- Subhomoy Benerji, 5th Semester, Agriculture.
Ans. As you are aware a bio-fuel mission is being launched in 2005. The bio-fuel is available in pilot plant scale in many institutions. I expect bio-diesel filling stations to come up within the next five years.
3. According to you, India is going to become a developed country by 2020, what is the role of agriculture in your plan?.
- Rahul Pandey, 1st Semester, Agriculture.
Ans. Participating in the Second Green Revolution is the role of Agricultural Scientists. In this we have to produce four hundred millions tones of food grains in hundred million hectares with reduced availability of water.
4. How can we minimize value added human resource from ?Brain Drain??
- Rumit Sodhi, 3rd Semester, Dairy Science
Ans. Today the opportunity available for valued added human resource within the country has enhanced substantially. Even in this situation, migration of limited number of graduates to other countries is not a big loss, since India is generation 3 million graduates every year. Their connectivity with different nations brings institutional and family connectivity in India. This adds to our knowledge base and can enhance our competitiveness.
5. From all platforms; we always indicate that Agriculture is the foundation of Indian economy; and it is true as well. What are your future endeavours for the upliftment of farmers?
- Animesh Kumar, 7th Semester, Dairy Science.
Ans. Agricultural technologists have to provide cost effective agricultural method and inputs to the farmers. Also value addition of the farm products has to take place through food processing. We have to make our products international competitive. This is the way we can uplift the farmers.
6. What are your suggestions and blessings to students of this University?
- Hiral Vora, 7th Semester, Dairy Science.
Ans. You should excel in your studies and contribute towards the national mission for transforming India into a developed nation.
7. Poverty is the most prominent enemy of the nation. What sort of warhead should we design to defeat this enemy?
- Farid Kirman, 3rd Semester, Dairy Science.
Ans. Application of science and technology to make internationally competitive products is the tool for defeating the greatest enemy poverty.
8. Are we right in feeling that we are loosing a ?great scientist? and gaining a 'Great President'?
- Shri Sonik Chavda, 7th Semester, Dairy Science.
Ans. You do not have to lose one for the other.
9. Your love for the students is unmatched. What are your expectations from us?
- Tarun Balani, PG Student, Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandary.
Ans. You should excel in your studies and can educate atleast three or four persons who cannot read and write during holidays without disturbing your studies. Fix a goal and work hard to achieve it. You will definitely encounter some problems towards achieving your goal. You should defeat the defeatist tendencies, and become the master of the problem.
10. What are your views for autonomy for the functioning of Universities?
- Sudhir Mehta, 6th Semester, Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandary.
Ans. There is already sufficient autonomy in the functioning of our universities. If there are any specific requirements it can always be considered by the government.
11. India has surplus grains. Why people still die or commit suicide because of hunger ? starvation?
- Rajanikumari, 9th Semester, Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandary.
Ans:You are right that we have surplus grains. However, we have to create absorbing capacity through provision of employment opportunity. That is what we are planning to achieve through rural development mission such as PURA and interlinking of rivers.
12.You tested atomic device at Pokharan, now which technology are you going to test in agriculture field?
- Nikul Gadia, Agricultural School.
Ans: Second Green Revolution is a test ground and challenge for all the agricultural universities in the country.
13. We have increased agricultural production, did value addition and processing of additional production. Now for export, how are you going to bring together industrialists and farmers?
- Rakesh B Ravalji, Agricultural School.
Ans: This is what precisely is the scope of second green revolution which envisages improvement from soil to grain and food processing including marketing.
14. I understand that you are the farmer?s son,
Who and what inspired you to become the world?s best Scientist?
- Valand Penalben Chandrakantbhai, Science School.
Ans: The teaching of a how bird flies by my elementary school teacher Shri Sivasubramania Iyer inspired me to take up aeronautics as my career.
15. We are the daughters of the farmers, what do you expect from us for the development of the nation?
- Chavda Dipthiben A, Home Science School.
Ans: You should excel in your studies. You should be righteous and bring harmony in home. You can also contribute in promoting PURA enterprises in your village.