Secretary to the Union Government’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare S.K. Pattanayak has said that declining soil fertility and scarcity of water are the main threats to food security in India in the coming days.
In his convocation address at the 31st annual convocation of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, here on Saturday, he said that despite good yield, farmers faced problems such as price crash and shortage of farm labour. And, in the days of problems posed by climate change, there was a need for farmers to utilise water rationally and conserve soil fertility to make farming viable, he said.
On the problems being faced by the farmers because of vagaries of nature and climate change, Mr. Pattanayak said that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana had come as a boon to them.
He said that India, where the contribution of the farm sector to the country’s GDP stood at 14 %, had achieved green, blue and yellow revolutions and food security by adapting new technologies in farming. This could help the country in meeting the goal of producing 300 million tonnes of foodgrains by 2020, he said.
Mr. Pattanayak also urged students of farm sciences to ensure that the benefits of the research in their field reached farmers.
Minister for Agriculture N.H. Shivashankar Reddy conferred 938 graduate and postgraduate degrees on students. This apart, doctoral degrees were awarded to 58 candidates and 43 gold medals and five cash prizes give away to meritorious students.
Professor of Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Shivalingappa S. Halli was honoured with the honorary doctoral degree on the occasion.
Vaidehi Pai, who secured two gold medals in B.Sc (agri), emerged as the golden girl. Vice-Chancellor of UAS, Dharwad, V.I. Benagi and others were present.