The existing land on earth is not going to change, the area will remain the same, but the population keeps on increasing every passing second. What do we do when the food demand is increasing and the resources remain constant? Yes- we find out ways to use the existing resource more efficiently. To use the same area of land in a way that it produces more.
This fact is the foundation of all research that is conducted in agriculture. To increase efficiency of resources.
India has constantly focused on research and development in agriculture and as a result of those efforts, have opened a lot of agricultural institutes, which we are to discuss in this article.
A glimpse of the vision and achievements on our agricultural institutes-
- ICAR-Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair:
The unique biodiversity and the potential of research its unexplored flora and fauna holds has created an interest on Indian as well as international level. The Islands have about 50000 Ha under all the agricultural crops with a major area under coconut.
Its lengthy coastal line has also invited interest in research in fisheries.
The diverse flora and fauna having horticultural importance, unique breeds of domestic animals sustaining the livelihood of tribal population, tribal population with typical food habits, posing challenges to sustain the fragile production systems makes this a topic of interest among the researchers.
It is an autonomous body, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research subsidiary, under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India.
It was first set up with a mandate to research the areas of farm machinery, post-harvest technology, and energy in agriculture. But, now the range of research has gone beyond this and includes Agro-Industrial Extension, Instrumentation and Irrigation and Drainage Engineering.
The problem of salinity-sodicity soil grew post irrigation period when the productivity levels of the land didn’t meet farmer’s expectations.
India has an area of 6.73 M ha that is affected by soil salinity. So, the research to look into how these lands can be saved from abandonment by improving efficiency has gained importance.
Some of the achievements of the institute that deserve highlighting are that with the large-scale application of their gypsum-based technology about 2.0 M ha of barren salt-affected soils have been reclaimed.
It resulted in the addition of more than 16 million tonnes of food grains to the national food basket. Besides, it has directly favorably altered the socio-economic status of 10 million people living in rural India.
- The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI): It was established in 1916 as Central Coconut Research Station and was later taken over by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The present mandate of the institute is to research coconut, areca nut, and cocoa.
The World’s largest repository of coconut germplasm with 455 accessions (323 indigenous and 132 exotic genotypes) is maintained in the Institute. The exotic collections are from 28 countries of South Asia, South-East Asia, Africa, Caribbean Islands, Indian Ocean Islands, and Pacific Ocean Islands.
In areca nut, 178 germplasm collections consisting of 23 exotic and 155 indigenous are conserved at ICAR-CPCRI, RS, Vittal.
- The Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute: It is an institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) with the mandate for developing new techniques for the design of agricultural experiments as well as to analyze data in agriculture and it undertakes research, teaching, and training in Agricultural Statistics, Computer Application and Bioinformatics.
The institute includes sections that specialize in statistical techniques for animal and plant breeding, bioinformatics, sampling, experimental design, modeling, and forecasting.
The statistics and information are used to bridge the gaps in existing knowledge.
To disseminate research and technological improvements in agriculture at the district level the government has set up the Agricultural and Technology Management Agency (ATMA).
India’s agricultural research system has contributed in a large way to increasing agriculture production and productivity. The development of high-yielding and disease-resistant varieties has been its major hallmark and the successful examples of it. India has one of the largest Public Agricultural Research Establishments in the world.
With the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) at the top, we have 30 State Agriculture Universities, 46 Institutes including 4 Deemed Universities, 4 National Bureau, 9 Project Directorates, 31 National Research Centres, 158 Regional Stations and 80 All India Coordinated Research Projects.