Time has come to transport farm research done at our Agri-universities from their dark archives to bright farms

When it comes to the premier educational institutions in India, all of are aware of the IIT’s and the IIM’s. These institutions primarily focus on the technology and the management education. Very few of us might be acquainted with the fact that there are reputed universities especially focused on agriculture.

To name a few, the list includes The Institute of Agricultural Sciences (http://www.bhu.ac.in/ias/),   Indian Agricultural Research Institute – IARI (http://www.iari.res.in/), University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore (http://www.uasbangalore.edu.in/), and The University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (http://www.uasd.edu/). Apart from these, IIT Kharagpur has a strong programme in Agricultural Engineering while IIM- Ahmedabad and IIM- Lucknow have programmes in Agri-Business. But, as it happens for any other field, there is  a huge gap between the Theoretical research being done in these Agri-Universities and the practical implementation done in the farms.

Agriculture still remains one of the most unexplored territories in India, which has not been able to harness the benefits of the research work being done in the universities. Recently, the HRD ministries decision to rank 73 agricultural universities can be seen as a positive step to increase competitiveness among these universities and bring them and their research findings to the forefront. The planned Budget Estimate for the Department of Agricultural Research and Education(DARE) was Rs. 19,000 lakh for the financial year 2014-2015, while the total budgeted estimate (Planned as well non-planned) of Indian council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for the FY 2015-16 was Rs. 6,320 crore. With these amount of money being spent on the research work for agriculture and allied sectors, we should definitely need to look at the corresponding return on investment that we get from the increased agricultural output and sustainability.

It is quite possible that we may be drawing some really useful inferences about the agricultural sector in India and also the ways in which it can be improved. But, the underlying purpose of these studies does not get satisfied until this information reaches the farmers who are ultimately going to implement them. The broad spectrum of the know-how’s that can be beneficial for the farmers and ultimately the Agricultural sector are as mentioned below:

  • Availability of the agricultural institutions/universities and the allied services for the farmers.
  • Soil testing, maintenance and the optimization of crop rotation.
  • Marketing information related to the prices of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and the current market price of the yields.
  • Latest pre and post harvest technologies, advanced farm machinery, and various agro-processing technologies.
  • Export potential of  the Indian crops in the World market.

Some of the success stories where agricultural research has yielded new sources of revenue and the desired boost in the productivity can be found at http://www.icar.org.in/en/taxonomy/term/93

With the intrusion of internet and smartphones even in the rural sectors, it can now be possible for the farmers to stay updated with the latest advancements happening in the agricultural sector. There are relevant portals like mentioned below:

But again, they need more exposure till they serve the purpose of bringing the outcomes of various research work being done in the Agri-universities to the farms, where the actual action happens.

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