NITI Aayog member advocates higher water use efficiency in Telangana

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Read full article By Special Correspondent @ The Hindu Photo Credit: ICRISAT

calls for shift in focus of research towards oilseeds, pulses, millets
NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand has advocated adoption of water-saving and improved irrigation practices and technology to increase water use efficiency in Telangana as the State government has been investing heavily in irrigation sector.
“The potential created must be optimally utilised with the benefit reaching as many farmers as possible. At present, the cropping intensity in irrigated areas is only 158% and the agricultural university has a larger role to play here to develop crop sequences and package of technology to raise the cropping intensity to beyond 180%,” Mr. Chand said at the virtual fifth convocation of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University on Saturday.
“Some pockets in TS have made remarkable progress through diversification and new enterprises like seed production. However, fruits and vegetables are being cultivated on less than 5% of the cultivable land,” he observed. Diversification towards high-value crops and sustainable intensification need special attention as they were promising pathways for the future of agriculture in the State, he said in his convocation address.
Despite several initiatives and direct intervention in nutrition, overall level of nutrition remains poor. Health outcomes show mixed results across States, and the country was shown in a poor light by international agencies in indicators such as child mortality, stunting, nutrition and health status of women despite surplus production of staple foods.
He stated that experts blame this on imbalance in diet and in food production. Special emphasis was being placed on increasing intake of millets, pulses and leafy vegetables. Bio-fortification of crops was also being suggested as another route to improve nutrition. Researchers at PJTSAU should address these dimensions to attract farmers to raise area under nutri-cereals, vegetables, and bio-fortified varieties of food crops, he suggested.
Stating that the challenge in future was more daunting, he said: “We are aware of climate change, rising stress on water sources, prevalence of under nutrition and malnutrition and food safety issues. India is producing 10% more rice than what is needed. On the other hand, over 60% of the domestic demand for edible oil is being met from imports. We are also suffering from chronic deficiency in pulses”. However, it would not happen without significant breakthrough in productivity of oilseeds and pulses and strong policy support with shift in focus of research towards oilseeds, pulses and millets, Mr. Chand said.
Governor and Chancellor of the university Tamilisai Soundararajan complimented the State government for ushering in reforms in all sectors and implementing a wide range of welfare schemes. PJTSAU Vice Chancellor V. Praveen Rao presented a report on the university.


Posted on

April 19, 2021

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