K. C. Bansal, secretary, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, on Thursday underscored the need to apply the latest biotechnological strategies including tools like genome editing for enhancing production and building sustainability in agriculture.
Dr. Bansal was speaking online on the ‘Science and technology innovations for enhancing productivity and building a sustainable future in agriculture’ at a seminar on agriculture organised here as part of the Keraleeyam 2023 celebrations of the State government.
He recommended a “twin pillar strategy” for sustainable agricultural development linking agrobiodiversity and frontier technologies including biotechnological advances.
Genomic editing technologies for efficient use of plant genetic resources are relevant in the context of climate smart agriculture. Climate change, shrinking arable land and water resources, expanding biotic and abiotic stresses, drought, high temperatures, salinity, and sustainability concerns pose challenges to sustainable agriculture today, he pointed out.
Dr. Bansal also underlined the need to focus on neglected and underutilised crops, and to integrate them into the food system.
Chris Jackson, senior economist, World Bank, said there is a major challenge ahead if we cannot ensure a climate resilient farming system. He urged Kerala to focus on building a resilient agriculture base. He also noted that the future is in value addition, processing and niche products that set Kerala apart from the crowd.
Agriculture Minister P. Prasad presided over the session. Cao Duc Phat, Chair, Board of Trustees, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Principal Secretary (Agriculture) B. Ashok, State Agriculture Prices Board chairman P. Rajasekharan, State farm award winner Sujith S. P., and agricultural entrepreneur Jnanasaravanan Jagadeesan spoke.