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Thursday, June 04, 2020
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National Academy of Agricultural Sciences Gets a New President, Prof. Panjab

New Delhi: Professor Panjab has taken charge of the President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) here on January 1, 2017 for a period of three years.

Prof. Singh is an agronomist by training and possesses more than four decades of experience in agriculture research, education and planning and management across institutions and organisations.

Prof. Singh, presently Chancellor, Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi (U.P.), has served as Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE), Govt. of India and Director General, ICAR, Vice Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.), Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur and Director/Vice Chancellor, Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, besides others professors.

After taking over he stressed that two important issued proposed by the present government viz. more crop per drop of water and doubling farmers income in next five years should attract our immediate attention for our technical input to the planners and policy makers.

Singh while praising the past achievements of ICAR in agriculture reminded that road to travel ahead is much more difficult. It will have to leave the path of business as usual and adopt to that of business as unusual if we are to sustain and improve agriculture. We are also to acknowledge that while farming has improved, the condition of our farmers, who feed us all, continues to be deplorable and needs our utmost attention. Some of his priority areas which he identifies for academy’s attention include:

How to achieve simultaneously improvement in basic natural resources (land, water, biodiversity etc.) and also in agriculture production? As of now one is growing at the cost of other. Policy and technological dimensions are to be set in place to achieve this.

Wastage of agricultural produce is a major drain on production and we have not been able to do much on to reduce post harvest losses.  As of now we are producing more to lose more. At present about 90 per cent of farm produce is sold (distress sale) soon after harvest letting farmers loose much of their share of income. We need to have innovative technologies and define investment priorities to balance the two-production and protection including processing and value addition.

Low pulses and oilseeds production continues to be a challenge and is causing a big drain on our limited foreign exchange resource year after year.

National crop insurance scheme, procurement of farmers produce at MSP, provision for timely and quality production inputs supply have been put in place by governments but its implementation would need a strong monitoring mechanism to let it actually happen. As of now it is far from satisfactory.

Lately there has been a declining enthusiasm among teachers and researchers in education and research. It is a serious issue and needs to be addressed holistically.

Human resource development at every level, both by number and by training, is a major concern. Trained man power right from farmer level and upward is the need of the day so as to make them capable to imbibe and practice technological developments.

 

Academy, founded in 1990, is headquartered at NASC complex in PUSA Campus, New Delhi and has fifteen regional chapters across country. It has more than 650 distinguished fellows in different areas of agriculture and allied from India and abroad. The Academy is a think tank of intellectuals to address emerging challenges and provide inputs to stakeholders in promoting sustainable agriculture and excellence in agriculture science.