Narendra Modi-ICAR
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the 86th Foundation Day of ICAR and ICAR award presentation ceremony in New Delhi on 29 July, 2014.PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday exhorted agricultural scientists to work towards aiding Indian farmers to produce more food grains and farm products for India.

Modi was addressing the agricultural scientific community on the 86th Foundation Day of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), at the NASC Complex in Delhi.

The PM called upon agriculture scientists to give a "standing ovation" to the millions of Indian farmers for playing a pivotal role in changing India's fortunes.

Modi asked the scientists to elaborate upon their research in simple terms, so that it could be understood by farmers, and they could be convinced to try out new products and initiatives.

Farming in India is hereditary, and practices are difficult to change, the Prime Minister said, adding that change can happen only when the farmer is convinced about its efficacy.

Therefore, agricultural scientists must - in accordance with changing circumstances of climate, water and soil - convince the farmer about their initiatives. Modi pointed out that the water-cycle has to be managed, according to the changing weather-cycle.

The PM also asked ICAR to set goals for their centenary, which is 14 years away. He stated the work of ICAR should have two mantras: "less land, less time, more crop" and "per drop, more crop".

Modi called upon ICAR to set its sights on achieving self-sufficiency in edible oil, and improving protein content and availability of pulses. Since the demand is increasing and land available will not rise, the focus has to be on soil fertility, the Prime Minister noted.

Giving the example of Mahatma Gandhi and his commitment towards water conservation, the Prime Minister asked ICAR to work for more efficient ways of water conservation and irrigation.

Modi also said that in the field of animal husbandry, special efforts need to be made to raise the level of milk productivity.

To meet the challenge of "lab to land" - taking scientific research to successful interventions - the Prime Minister exhorted agricultural colleges to start radio stations. Noting that farmers listen to radio a lot, he stressed that radio programmes run by college students would prove extremely beneficial.

Modi called for a digitized database of all agricultural research in the country. He said young educated and progressive farmers, and agricultural research scholars can together form a talent pool in all districts of the country.

The Prime Minister also called for a blue revolution that would extend the benefits of scientific research to the fisheries sector. He also urged greater research, and promotion of coastal seaweed and Himalayan herbal medicinal plants.

Modi also gave away 10 awards to agricultural scientists for their excellence in research.