Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva on Friday called upon farm scientists to restore sustainable livelihoods and food security systems in the State by reducing the gap between the lab and the field. Speaking at the 27{+t}{+h}Convocation of the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pant Nagar, Ms. Alva expressed concern over the depleting public interest and productivity of the small holdings. The inefficient use of resources and inputs, she said, raised the cultivation cost and biosphere pollution and decreased the production.

“The farm scientists face a challenge to harness the traditional wisdom and dovetail it into modern and easily acceptable technologies so that the average productivity from the small and rain-fed farms of Uttarakhand could be raised from 1.7 tonnes to 2.4 tonnes per hectare by 2025,” Ms. Alva said.

Delivering the Convocation address, Department of Agriculture Research Extension secretary S. Ayyappan underlined the importance of allied sectors in the economic and social development of the country. He wanted the farm scientists to evolve technologies to increase food production despite the depleting and degrading soil, water, biodiversity and climate.

He asked them to come to the rescue of small and marginal farmers by developing innovative approaches in breeding and hybrid technology. The new programmes must emphasise on conservation, cultivation and processing.

Develop SAZs

Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat wanted technologies that reduced the drudgery of hill women and development of Special Agriculture Zones (SAZ) instead of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) if the country was to continue with the present trend of food security.

Vice-Chancellor B. S. Bisht congratulated the passing out students and scientists of the university and hoped they would develop more cutting-edge techniques to evolve the hill agriculture in future.

A total of 1139 degrees, including 674 Undergraduate, 374 Masters and 91 Ph.D. degrees, were awarded to the students on the occasion.