Jorhat, April 17: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has stressed on the need to make agriculture remunerative even as he called upon farmers to take up allied activities such as poultry, dairy and fisheries.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the golden jubilee celebrations of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) in Jorhat, Naidu praised the University for being a guiding force in the region for five decades and asked it to work together with other stakeholders to make agriculture an attractive and economical occupation so that the youth are drawn back to it.
Stating that the farm sector in Assam needs innovative practices for sustenance, he said, “There have been many advances in farming practices like precision farming, vertical farming and robotic farming. We must see if these innovations can be tried out in your state.”
India needs to respond effectively to the changing needs of the farm sector and agricultural universities have an important role to play to ensure its sustenance, Naidu said.
“Knowledge makes all the difference. The educational institutions must generate new ideas, extend the frontiers of scientific knowledge and search for practical solutions to challenging problems,” he said.
Naidu urged scientists and state governments to encourage farmers to take up diversified activities, such as fishery and poultry.
Expressing satisfaction with the Assam government’s efforts to revitalise the animal husbandry sector, he said: “This is, in my view, the need of the hour. Farmers should be encouraged to diversify and take up allied activities to cushion them against uncertain and uneven returns from farming”.
Talking about the agriculture growth in the state, Naidu said the farming sector in Assam is marching ahead slowly but steadily.
“Presently, I believe, it is growing at around 5 per cent. Rice production has increased from 3.8 million tonnes in 2001-02 to 5.2 million tonnes in 2016-17. This is still far below its potential of 12 million tones,” he said.
The Vice President asked the gathering to speak only in their mother tongue and to speak English outside their homes, comparing the former to eyes and the latter to spectacles.
“Without eyes one cannot have sight, foresight or vision,” he said.
Naidu expressed his concern over attacks on women and lower castes in recent times, stating that this was a problem of mind-set of some people which needed to be changed.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, agriculture minister Atul Bora and other dignitaries were among those present at the programme.