New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS): President Pratibha Patil Wednesday said experts should interact with farmers to enrich their knowledge base and observed that there was need to integrate agriculture with other sectors.
She also said that agriculture is not only important for food security, but also for enhancing trade and commerce.
"The laboratory to farm journey has to be smooth and timely," said the president.
President Patil inaugurated the International Conference on "Innovative Approaches for Agriculture Knowledge Management System: Global Extension Experiences" here.
Stating that agriculture "is not only important for our food security, but also for enhancing trade, commerce and business and also for generating employment", the president said "agricultural development is critical for India's economic growth given the high percentage of the population dependent on it".
Observing that food security is primary goal for all countries on account of increasing global population, growing urbanization; high and volatile food prices and malnutrition due to poverty, she said agriculture, in many parts of the world, is faced with low productivity, diminishing returns and increased cost of production.
"We have high expectations from our agricultural universities," said the president stressing the need for an Evergreen Revolution.
"In addition to irrigated areas, the agricultural revolution must cover rainfed areas which continue to face the challenges of low productivity and scarcity of water," she said, adding: "We need to move away from a scenario of a farmer tilling land for self consumption to a situation where the farmer, alongwith other stakeholders, works to maximize output."
The president said the digital revolution and mobile technology can be very useful means for transmitting weather forecast and market situation.
She also said each block can be a nuclei of a "food and fodder bank".
"We need to integrate agriculture with other sectors," she said.
The president said institutional arrangements and policy orientation for a farmer-centric, industry driven and knowledge-based paradigm, are required for enhanced competitiveness of the agriculture sector.
"There should be deliberations on evolving suitable models for partnerships between farmers, private sector and the government in agriculture and rural development," she said.
Observing there should be farmer-industrial partnerships to include crop specific and region specific models by making farmers associates, shareholders or co-operatives or organizing farmers into primary producer bodies.
"Agreements of farmers with industrial establishment could cover apart from production, processing, value addition, storage and marketing, all of which contribute to better price realization," she said.