Bengaluru, Jan 7 (IANS) Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday that agriculture has been facing distress inspite of several measures by the Centre and state governments and asked if science could help, at the valedictory ceremony of the 107th Indian Science Congress here.
"Can science throw up answers to these and other pressing problems faced by the farmers? How to improve soil fertility? How to make crops climate-resilient and nutrition-efficient? How to improve productivity with less water consumption," Naidu asked.
He said adverse seasonal and natural calamities are causing much suffering to farmers while global warming and climate change are real and cannot be wished away any longer.
"Agriculture is close to my heart as I come from a farmer''s family. Can we not mitigate the problems faced by the farmers due to nature''s fury," asked Naidu.
He said that time has come for all stakeholders, especially the scientific community, to pay urgent attention to farmers'' problems and find long-term solutions.
Naidu said a country like India cannot rely on imported food security and strive to achieve home grown food security.
"Unless there are concerted efforts in this direction, I am afraid that more and more people will leave agriculture and shift to other occupations," said the vice president.
He emphasised the critical role technology plays in enhancing both the quality and quantity across agriculture value chain.
"The use of technology, including ICT, would not only help improve efficiency but would also result in reducing the cost of production. Scientific research should also focus on making advanced machinery for a variety of agricultural activities from spraying to post-harvest handling of produce," Naidu said.
In addition to agriculture, Naidu said science must address problems arising from increasing urbanisation, pollution, urban-rural divide, growing anti-bacterial resistance, genetic and non-communicable diseases, water scarcity and others.
Naidu called upon schools to sow the seeds of scientific temper and insatiable curiosity in children to learn and understand newer things.
He expressed happiness on India improving its position from 81 in 2015 to 52 in 2019 on the Global Innovation Index, and called for further improvement.
The Vice President called upon corporate India to develop a symbiotic partnership with universities and academic institutions to contribute towards research and development.
"As the country aims to become a $5 trillion economy in the coming years, we need to fully leverage the demographic advantage with science and technology playing a leading role in driving the economic and social development," he said.
Naidu also presented Indian Science Congress awards such as young scientist and best poster awards.
The five-day Science Congress culminated on Tuesday. It featured the first ever farmers'' Science Congress, ninth women''s Congress and children''s Congress at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) here.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS