Agricultural research and education in India is spearheaded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), an autonomous organization under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.
- This apex body is mandated for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture and allied activities.
- It has the largest network of agricultural research and education in the world with –
- 109 institutes,
- 78 all India coordinated projects/networks,
- 642 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs),
- 71 state agricultural / veterinary / horticultural / fishery universities and
- 4 general universities with agricultural faculty spread across the country.
Keeping pace with the changing requirements of country’s farm sector, ICAR Institutes developed a number of cost-effective technologies, techniques and products, not only to enhance the productivity of various crops and commodities, but also the quality of produce, for enabling remunerative agriculture.
The partnerships within the National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) as well as outside, with several organizations were the hallmark of R&D efforts during the year.
For building entrepreneurship amongst the agricultural graduates and improving technology delivery as well as knowledge empowerment of farmers, the 87th Foundation Day of ICAR function held at Patna witnessed the launch of several initiatives of ICAR, viz.,
- Farmers FIRST,
- Student READY,
- Attracting Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA),
- Agri-Tech Foresight Centre (ATFC) and
- Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav.
Foundation stones laid –
- Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Hazaribagh, Jharkhand
- Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (IIAB), Ranchi
- National Research Centre on Integrated Farming at Motihari, Bihar.
The other initiatives included launching of Consortia Research Programmes and Extra Mural Funding in the Council.
The ICAR in a major exercise, formulated the Vision-2050 documents and revised the mandates of all the institutes keeping in view the changing needs of agricultural research, human resources and technology dissemination vis-à-vis growing population and consequent increase in food demand, changing food consumption pattern, state of natural resources, climate change, commercialization of agriculture, global trade regime and a dynamic policy environment both, domestic as well as global. The nomenclature of several ICAR institutes was also revised.
During the year, several areas in the northern states were impacted by hailstorms that caused damage to ready-to-harvest wheat crop; the monsoon was delayed and on an average remained 14 per cent deficient resulting in loss to rain-fed farming in some parts of the country. Such unforeseen natural calamities bring out the vulnerability of the agriculture and also look to the agricultural research community to be proactive for building resilience to natural exigencies.
Bibliography : India Year Book ( PUBLICATIONS DIVISION – GOI )