Prof. Rajendra Kumar- Director General , UP Council of Agriculture Research delivered a lecture on ‘Latest Trend in Agriculture Research’ at Amity Campus, Sector 125, Noida and enlightened over 200 Scientists, Researchers and Faculty members.
Welcoming the distinguished speaker, Dr. W. Selvamurthy, President, Amity Science Technology and Innovation Foundation (ASTIF) introduced him to the audience, sharing his exemplary achievements and immense contribution to the R&D in the area of agriculture. He expressed a desire, on behalf of the scientific fraternity of Amity University, to work collaboratively with UP Council of Agriculture Research for societal benefit and welfare.
Delivering the lecture, Prof. Rajendra Kumar enumerated various reasons which point out the necessity to step up the research initiatives in the area of Agriculture including Population Rise, Decrease in resources, Stagnation in productivity and production, Climate Change and Rise in food prices. Quoting UNO Report, he stressed that the major cause of hunger is low agricultural productivity; the world cereal production is not growing in tune with the population growth. He remarked that if India has to prosper then Indian agriculture has to take a lead. Prof. Kumar lamented the narrow approach followed by the Scientist fraternity in the country, who are averse to collaborative research and sharing of infrastructure and resources. He advised the Scientists and Researchers to come together and work collaboratively, which would immensely benefit the society and country at large.
Suggesting “Biotechnology” as one of the important tools to ensure Food Security in the country, Prof Kumar stressed that the adoption of various Biotechnology based approaches such as GM/ Biotech/Transgenic Crops, Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), Genomics based Breeding of crops and Heterosis Research would lead to crop improvement and increase in the yield of the crops.
Citing few challenges faced by the Agriculture education in the country, Prof. Kumar remarked that the Undergraduate and Post Graduate Programmes in Agriculture have to be re-designed and restructured keeping in view the latest requirements of the sector. Non- formal education has to be started in agriculture sector along with the development of agriculture education system from the point of view of self employability. He stressed that the need of the hour is to impart interdisciplinary knowledge and training in Production, Handling and Marketing oriented programmes in Agriculture education and to provide hands on training for nurturing entrepreneurial skills thereby, creating more job providers than job seekers in the agriculture sector.
Prof. Kumar advocated the strengthening of the partnership between educational institutions (dealing in agriculture) and Research Organizations within India and abroad for the development of curriculum, training of students and faculty members and joint research. He called for Promoting Public- Private Partnership in agriculture education and Providing Financial assistance to Agricultural colleges for maintaining faculty competence and infrastructural facilities.
Sharing his views, Dr. Ajit Varma- Distinguished Scientist & Professor of Eminence, Amity Institute of Microbial Technology who has discovered a breakthrough ‘Rootonic’- The Magic Fungus Piriformospora indica which promotes the growth of plants in very hot and humid temperature as well as very cold and freezing temperatures, sought the help of Prof. Kumar in initiating the field trials of “Piriformospora indica” in the Universities of Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Varma also offered to provide training by Amity University to Scientists and Researchers on Project Writing and Presentation of Data in Seminars and other events.
The lecture was followed by Question and Answer Round wherein the Scientists and Researchers of Amity University tried to assess the possibility of joint R&D with UP Council of Agriculture Research.