Governor K. Rosaiah distributes degree certificates at TNAU convocation

Well planned, long-term national/regional land conservation and rehabilitation programmes, and water policies, are needed to control land degradation and the increase in multi-sectoral competition for water, J.S. Sandhu, Agriculture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, said here on Thursday.

Addressing the 34 convocation of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he pointed out that in India nearly 45 per cent of the geographical area was under various kinds of degradation and the techniques for conserving soil and water resources were already available, but not widely or systematically applied.

“Inappropriate and uncontrolled land uses are major causes of degradation and depletion of land resources. This is serious because the productivity of huge areas of land is declining just when populations are increasing rapidly and there is demand on the land to produce more food, fibre, and fuel.

With the world population expected to reach 8 million by 2030, pressure on the environment will continue to mount,” the Commissioner said.He expressed concern over the fact that even if the agricultural sector had performed sufficiently well over the past decades, the question remained whether it could supply at the levels necessary to keep abreast of the anticipated demand. India would face a rapid expansion of food demand and major shifts in its composition, thereby requiring an acceleration of agricultural growth rates beyond the present four per cent target rate, or a rise in imports, Mr. Sandhu added.

The private sector was becoming an increasingly important participant in agricultural research, production and marketing. But it only showed interest in it as a business case and thus failed to focus on the needs of poorer and marginal farmers.

He stressed the need for an agricultural research policy that responded to a changing agricultural, scientific and economic environment.

Governor K. Rosaiah presided over the convocation and distributed the degree certificates.

Agriculture Minister S. Damodaran announced the endowment prizes and medals. Ravendra Naidu, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Co-operative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), South Australia, and S. Chelliah, former Director of Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai, and former Director of Research, TNAU, were conferred honorary degrees of Doctor of Science (honoris causa).

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