Funds to be used for maintenance of the more than four-decade-old college

Even as the proposal to convert the College of Fisheries (CoF) here into a National institute is being considered, the Indian Centre for Agricultural Research (ICAR) will sanction Rs. 2 crore for maintenance of the more than four-decade-old college.

Announcing this at a formal function to handover a patent on a shrimp disease testing kit to a private multi-national company here on Saturday, Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University Registrar H.M. Jayaprakash said, “The college has become old, the buildings are collapsing. Rs. 2 crore will help the infrastructure here.”

Responding to a request to declare the first-of-its-kind college a national institute – in effect, increasing the quota for out-of-State students to 50 per cent from the 15 per cent hitherto – S. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR, said approvals from Vice Chancellors and Ministers would be needed for this.

“We are planning to set up centres of excellence across the country, and we can decide to include CoF based on their specialisation,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Ayyappan stressed on the need to scale up the number of graduates in agriculture and allied branches to meet the future needs of the country.

“We have 30,000 agriculture graduates annually, whereas we need at least 60,000 yearly by 2020. We have started to scale up college infrastructure, enhance financial support and scholarships to students, and revisit the curriculum to encourage skills and entrepreneurship,” he told reporters.

Transfer of technology

The RapiDot Kit, which has been the result of research in the college since 2000, has been secured by Virbac Animal Health Care Limited., a French company involved in animal and fish healthcare, for Rs. 12 lakh.

When asked if the price suited the potential of the patent, Mr. Ayyappan said, “There are different ways to go about it. In royalty sharing, we have to keep in mind excise duty and have to track number of kits produced and sold. It is easier to do a one-time transfer of technology.”

The kit is an early detection tool for the shrimp white spot virus that causes a loss of nearly Rs. 500 crore annually to shrimp culture industry in the country, said K.M. Shankar, Dean of the college, who developed the technique.

Ram Prakash, who represented Virbac, said the company had been trying to secure the technology for the past decade.

“We may look for more collaboration in the fields of oral vaccinations with the college,” he said.

Shrimp farmer Vasudev Byndoor suggested extending the scope of the kit to ensure detection of parameters that caused the virus – which would vastly help in prevention of the virus that has the potential to destroy a shrimp farm in a couple of days.

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