Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh addresses at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Varanasi: Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh addressed a gathering at the Sankalp Se Siddhi program organized by ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Kanpur, Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Faizabad and Krishi Vigyan Kendra Varanasi. He said that Sankalp Se Siddhi campaign has become a Mass Movement in the country. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call, people have come forward to build a New India. The impact of Sankalp Se Siddhi campaign, which was launched on the 75th anniversary of Quit India Movement, can be seen across the country. On the occasion, the Minister asked the people to make a pledge to construct a New India and double farmers’ income by the year 2022. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Varanasi also organized a special program to showcase advanced farming techniques. Also, farmers were asked to take a pledge to create Soil Health Cards, adopt integrated and organic farming methods to double farmers’ income by 2022.

The Union Minister said that all the centers of All India Wheat and Barley Reform Project are making efforts to deal with Biotic and Abiotic factors to make wheat rich in nutrition by the year 2050. He said it today at the 56th All India Wheat and Barley Research Workers’ Meet (2017) organized at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

The Union Minister further said that the integrated program is eco-friendly, economically beneficial and homogeneous. He said that there has been an unprecedented growth in agricultural productivity over the last five decades due to the integrated program. With the integrated program, average yield per hectare has increased from 0.91 tonnes in 1964-65 to 3.22 tonnes in 2016-17.

The Union Minister said that in 1947, during independence, we produced 7 million tons of wheat and the average productivity of wheat was just 700 kg per hectare. However, in 2016-17, we produced 255.68 million tonnes of food grain and production of paddy, wheat and pulses created a new record level. Also, this year we had record production of wheat at 98.38 mt and 3216 kg wheat per hectare. This has been possible due to the hard-work of farmers. He also appreciated concerted efforts by policy makers, agricultural officers, extension workers and the scientific community and said they are the backbone of the project.

He said that we acquired the status of self-sufficient in food grain in the 1970s and during the same period we became wheat exporter too and that is why we can manage the volatility in food stocks or fluctuations year after year so easily.

The Union Minister said innovative techniques, technical interventions and policy reforms made Green Revolution successful. He also reiterated that such sustained efforts resulted in an increase in production and productivity and self-sufficiency in food grain. For this, he gave credit to dwarf variety developed under the All India Wheat and Barley Reform Project. An important milestone in this process was the establishment of the All India Coordinated Wheat Improvement Project in 1965 by the ICAR.

The Union Minister said that so far 421 species of wheat and 92 barleys have been developed under the All India Integrated Wheat and Barley Reform Project, which is being cultivated in different parts of the country. He informed that today we have 8 funded centres and three voluntary centres of barley in main barley producing states.

Some achievements are as follows:

• India’s first zinc fortified variety WB2 was developed in the year 2016.

• Production of breeder seeds and capacity building of farmers to produce seeds.

• The draft sequence of Karnal Bunt Fungus has been a big achievement.

• Development of large plots for phenotyping, which are now available as a nodal centre.

• To fulfil our objective of Per Drop More Crop, development work on deep-rooted wheat variety has started to ensure judicious use of water.