Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu addresses the annual convocation of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa, in Bihar on November 07, 2021. (PIB)
Champaran: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on November 7, 2021, emphasised the need to promote agro-based industries in rural areas so as to create employment opportunities for the rural youth.
Referring to the phenomena of reverse migration from cities to villages during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that entrepreneurship in agriculture can immensely benefit the Indian economy by creating jobs in areas where they are needed the most.
Addressing the second Annual Convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa at its Piprakothi Campus (East Champaran) in Bihar, the Vice President said that the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can immensely help small and marginal farmers with forward (processing, marketing and export) and backward (input and extension services) linkages in the Food Supply Chains. Therefore, he emphasised the need to promote FPOs through handholding and capacity building, and appreciated the University for initiating training programmes in this regard. Reiterating that there is a lot of scope for food processing in India, he urged the Universities to encourage farmers in their respective region to form collectives.
Observing that Indian agriculture is characterized by marginal and small farmers with fewer resources, VP Naidu highlighted the need for increasing the farmers’ income through various sources, including improved resource use efficiency.
Calling for greater use of technology in food management to ensure food security for all, he said “The developed world is already reaping benefits from the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture and India too must harness its potential to help improve farm income.”
In this regard, the Vice President asked Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University to work on the Impact Assessment of Technologies and also evaluate alternative farming techniques and their sustainability.
He lauded the farmers for record foodgrain production despite the challenges thrown by COVID-19 pandemic.
Stressing that “agriculture is our basic culture,” he urged the Center and State governments, public leaders, universities and research institutions, and the media to give more importance to agriculture.
Congratulating all the students who graduated today, the Vice President asked them to strive to excel in their chosen domain and contribute to the growth and development of the country. On this occasion, he also praised Radha Mohan Singh, Member of Parliament and the former Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, for his efforts in establishing several farmer-centric institutes at Piprakothi, Champaran.
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Champaran Satyagraha movement in support of farmers, Shri Naidu said that he felt privileged and honoured to stand on that pious soil.
Reminding the students that Bihar is the land of great personalities like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jai Prakash Narayan and Karpuri Thakur, the Vice President asked them to take inspiration from their lives and high moral standards they followed.
In this regard, he also stressed the need to mould public opinion in such a way so that people select and elect their representatives based on four Cs, namely – character, calibre, capacity and conduct.
Stating that with institutions like Nalanda, Bihar was “the knowledge centre of the world,” Shri Naidu called for regaining that past glory and to make it a knowledge and innovation hub again.
The Vice President also inaugurated the Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya College of Horticulture & Forestry (its administrative building and two hostels for the girls and boys), Centre of Excellence on Embryo Transfer Technology and Indigenous Cattle Breeds – Conservation and Improvement Centre.
He also paid floral tribute at the statue of former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the University campus.
Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi, Bihar Agriculture Minister Amarendra Pratap Singh, Member of Parliament Radhamohan Singh, Chancellor of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Prafulla Kumar Mishra, Vice-Chancellor Dr. R.C. Srivastava, Secretary, DARE & DG, ICAR, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, faculty and students were among those who attended the event. (Press Release)