Special Correspondent

Agro-meteorological advisory service for all districts by 2008

Comprehensive agro information portal by December 2007

Real-time crop health, productivity assessment platform by December 2007

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Science and Technology has set up a task force to facilitate and monitor a programme for reinvigorating agriculture through science and technology to help achieve 4 per cent growth rate in the farm sector. It will be headed by Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, V.S. Ramamurty.

This was announced here on Thursday by Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal at a brainstorming meeting with 40 scientists of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The activities would include agro-meteorological advisory service for all districts by 2008, a comprehensive agro information portal by December 2007 and a real-time crop health and productivity assessment and management platform by December 2007.

Successful technologies

As part of the Ministry’s efforts to showcase successful and proven technologies, a Horticulture Planting Material Mission for the north-east would be operationalised by December 2007. Diverse agro machinery, implements, devices and instruments developed through agricultural universities and other farm extension systems would be showcased.

A feasibility study of the CSIR’s cost-effective technology would be done to derive potash from seawater to make up for its deficiency in the soil and reduce the usage of nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium.

A rigorous techno-economic feasibility study of the technology would be undertaken.

Seed quality

Mr. Sibal said a high throughput seed quality assessment instrument would be developed by June 2008 and a composite package of practices and inputs based on soil quality and water availability mapping would be done commencing with farmers’ ‘hot spots’ by June 2008. The department had identified two ‘hot spots’ for their experimental study.

A working paper and plan on promoting the use of eco-friendly bio-pesticides (for which even carbon credit could accrue to India) would be prepared by December 2007.

A working paper and plan on the potential to rejuvenate the tea industry in north India would be prepared by October 2007.

The Minister said a few other programmes would require consultations with other Ministries.