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Expert calls for paradigm shift in agriculture research

‘Undue emphasis being laid on genetically modified crops’

Sage advice:Center for Sustainable Agriculture Executive Director G.V. Ramanjaneyulu addressing a seminar at Regional Agricultural Research Station in Guntur on Friday.—Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Sage advice:Center for Sustainable Agriculture Executive Director G.V. Ramanjaneyulu addressing a seminar at Regional Agricultural Research Station in Guntur on Friday.—Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

The Green Revolution in India was possible due to import of advanced technologies from developed countries, mainly the U.S., and a dominant role played by the government, which extended remarkable assistance to farmers in producing crops and selling them at remunerative price. In the post-Green Revolution scenario, India continued to adopt technologies that were best suited for large land holdings such as those in the U.S., where agriculture was heavily subsidised and the regulatory agencies played their role to perfection.

“The situation in India is altogether different. Research is being done from the government’s own perspective rather than on the basis of ground realities, which is reflected in the sordid plight of farmers,” said G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), Hyderabad.

Pest management

Addressing a seminar on ‘Agricultural research in post-Green Revolution era – Need for a paradigm shift’ organised by the Jana Vignana Vedika at the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) at Lam here on Friday, Mr. Ramanjaneyulu said at a time when the food basket needed to be diversified for feeding the billion plus population and for sustaining the agriculture sector, paddy, cotton, maize, and groundnut constituted 80 per cent of the crops cultivated in India.

Instead of focusing on ‘pest management’, scientists were harping on ‘pesticide research’, whereas the emphasis ought to have been on finding new ways of reducing the usage of pesticides whose harmful consequences were very well known.

Mr. Ramanjaneyulu expressed regret that enough thought did not go into the reasons for farmer suicides which, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, numbered a staggering 2,56,913 in a span of 15 years (1995-2010).

Undue emphasis was laid on genetically modified crops, which might be high-yielding but not disease-resistant in the long run. Fertilizer subsidy bill topped Rs. 1,00,000 crore, as farmers preferred using these chemicals oblivious to the rising demand for organic foods.

A lot of research was required to be done keeping such crucial things in mind as otherwise agriculture was not going to be sustainable in the medium to long terms, Mr. Ramanjaneyulu observed.

RARS Associate Director K. Sankar Reddy and N. Venugopala Rao of Jana Vignana Vedika spoke.

 


  • India continues to adopt technologies best suited for conditions prevailing in the U.S, he says
  • Executive Director of CSA says enough thought has not gone into reasons behind farmer suicides

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