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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Harness AI’s potential to improve farm income: Vice President

Champaran, Nov 7: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asked agricultural scientists to exploit artificial intelligence in the agri sector and evaluate alternative farming techniques.

Addressing the annual convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University at Champaran, the VP said that as the developed world is reaping benefits from AI in the agricultural sector, India too must harness its potential to help improve farm income.

“Greater use of technology in food management is needed to ensure food security for all. I urge the University to work on the Impact Assessment of Technologies and also evaluate alternative farming techniques and their sustainability. As you all are aware, small and marginal farm holdings constitute the core of Indian agricultural production systems,” he said.

The University is planning to start more technical and entrepreneurship-oriented courses in mushroom production and post-harvest processing of agricultural produce. The University’s start-up incubation center will help students start their business entrepreneurship.

“I was also informed that the University is promoting 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 said.

Naidu said the Farmer Producer Organizations can immensely help small and marginal farmers with forward and backward linkages in the Food Supply Chains; backward in terms of input and extension services and forward in terms of processing, marketing, selling and export. There is a need to promote FPOs, and the University is also initiating training programmes in this regard. “Handholding and capacity building is important for FPOs and I urge the University to encourage farmers in the region to form collectives,” he said.

He hailed the university for providing digital solutions in the wake of the pandemic to each farmer to deal with soil management, pest and diseases management and post-harvest management, among others. The extension support system has played its part to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 by reaching out to more than 1.28 lakh farmers through video conferencing hubs at Krishi Vigyan Kendras for the webcast of training programs.