INDIA - A substantial increase in productivity is the answer to achieve food security in an efficient and sustainable manner, India agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh said at the India Seed Congress-2015 held at Agra (UP) recently.
Speaking at the Seed Congress, Singh emphasized that increase in farmers’ incomes and quality food supply to consumers at affordable prices are closely linked to supply of quality seeds with all the required traits for substantial increase in productivity.
Singh said that Bt cotton in Gujarat and other states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has clearly demonstrated what these new technologies can do to enhance farmer incomes with consequential effects on their well-being.
Besides, newer technologies like herbicide tolerance, drought tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency, healthy oils and feed, and nutrition enhancement, can, when introduced commercially in India, substantially increase productivity leading to greater farmer incomes and farmer well-being, Singh Stressed.
Apart from increased productivity to produce more from less input including water and land, the losses that occur due to droughts, floods, salinity, biotic and other abiotic stresses also need to be eliminated decisively through the adoption of appropriate technologies. In this context, genetic engineering holds great promise, Singh adds.
International institutional collaborations both in public and private sector are essential to introduce innovations and technologies to the farmers.
However such arrangements should benefit all the stakeholders and faster technology diffusion and adoption can happen only if there is a rational regime for technology pricing and licensing which enables a level playing field and also fosters healthy competition, Singh said.
Singh emphasised that the superior genetics encapsulated in seed combined with improved agronomies shall be the key strategy to break the yield barriers.
In this direction the private organized seed industry has significantly contributed and successfully complemented with the public sector and government shall therefore support PPP initiatives for overall development of the sector, Singh opined.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, seeds are a critical determinant of productivity in agriculture. Thus, appropriate policy support for seed improvements through conventional and biotech methods, in combination with improved agronomic practices, would greatly help in ensuring food and nutritional security of the country.