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'Science-based agri-innovations to help farmers'

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Jitendra Singh on Thursday said science-based agricultural Innovations will not only double the farmers’ income but will also make India the leading agricultural and scientific power in the world after 100 years of Independence.

Singh was speaking during a first of its kind virtual event, where 75,000 farmers from 75 Aspirational Districts interacted with the leading scientists in agriculture sciences and technologies to commemorate the 75th year of India’s independence at a mega event “Farmers-Scientists Connect Meet”.

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It was organized jointly by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Biotech-KISAN Hub at ICAR-IARI, PUSA, New Delhi under the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations, a statement from the Ministry said.

Dr Jitendra Singh assured the farmers that the “unique initiative of the Government to find Science-based Agricultural Innovations will not only double the farmers’ income but will also make India the leading agricultural and scientific power in the world, when it turns 100 after 25 years of Amrit Kaal Journey.”

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He said, welfare schemes like PM Kisan Maandhan Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Kisan Samman, Soil Health Card, Neem Coated Urea, e-Nam to name a few have truly revolutionized agriculture and farm production. The pro-farmer schemes and programmes have also empowered the Agriculture Sector financially & resourcefully, besides giving esteem and respect to the farmers which was lacking earlier, he added.

The Biotech-KISAN is a scientist-farmer partnership scheme launched by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in 2017 for agriculture innovation with an objective to connect science laboratories with the farmers to find out innovative solutions and technologies to be applied at farm level. “The establishment of Biotech-KISAN Hubs in different agro-climatic zones will strengthen and empower the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) with latest and innovative technologies by linking them with national scientific labs and institutions,” Singh said and informed, a total number of 36 Biotech-KISAN Hubs have been established so far, covering all 15 agro-climatic zones in the country.

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The scheme has benefited over three lakh farmers so far by increasing their agriculture output and income. Over 200 entrepreneurships have also been developed in rural areas, the statement said.

Senior DBT officials informed that the significant achievements of the programme since inception include: revival of grass pea cultivation and its popularization amongst farmers of Bihar; utilization of rice fallows for enhancing pulse production in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh; empowerment of women farmers through scientific goat and sheep rearing in Sundarbans; promotion and popularization of good agricultural practices (GAPs) for seed spice cultivation amongst farmers of Western Rajasthan for getting premium price for agriculture produce; scientific pig rearing for livelihood improvement of tribal farmers of Meghalaya; production of quality planting material (QPM) of Malbhog variety of banana and its cultivation in Assam and promotion of conservation agriculture practices in rice-wheat and soybean-wheat cropping system in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

–IANS

niv/skp/

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