Guntur (Andhra Pradesh): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called for increasing the acreage and productivity of pulses for achieving self-sufficiency and urged agricultural universities to step up research on improving their yields.
Speaking at the inaugural session of All India Coordinated Research Group’s Annual Group Meet on MULLaRP and Arid Legumes workshop here on Sunday, the Vice President said there was a need to introduce high-yielding, disease and pest-resilient seed varieties.
Pointing out that pulses were an inexpensive source of plant-based proteins, vitamins and minerals for people, Shri Naidu said they provide green, nutritious fodder for animal and also enrich soil through biological nitrogen fixation.
“Some legumes are known to have medicinal and therapeutic properties also. Hence, they were rightly termed as ‘Unique Jewels’ of Indian crop husbandry,” he said.
Observing that legumes were an essential component in Indian cropping pattern, especially in dryland farming, Naidu said India was the world’s largest producer, accounting for 34 per cent of the area and 24 per cent of production followed by Myanmar, Canada, China, Nigeria, Brazil, and Australia.
Referring to his recent visit to Vietnam, the Vice President mentioned about crop production differentials between India and Vietnam. He said that Vietnam produces five tonnes of rice per hectare and 1.5-tonne soya bean per hectare, while India was producing only three tonnes of rice per hectare and only one tonne of soya bean.
Naidu said that the universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and the government must come together with long term strategies for producing new high yielding varieties, which are resilient to diseases and climate change.
Saying that climate change was adversely impacting the marginalized people in dryland areas due to the shifts in moisture and temperature regimes, the Vice President called for a new paradigm in agricultural research that makes full use of science and technology in conjunction with traditional knowledge to cope with the challenges of climate change and achieve food and nutritional security was necessary.
Observing that there was an urgent need for new knowledge, alternative policies, and institutional changes to improve productivity from agricultural crops, the Vice President advised agricultural universities, research institutions and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) to play a big role in improving the lot of the farmers and empowering them.