New Delhi: In her first public address after assuming the top job, President Pratibha Patil on 6 August stressed on new policy initiatives to enhance agricultural growth.
“This is my first assignment after taking over as the President of India and the reason I am here is that everything can wait but not agriculture,” Patil said.
“It would be important to bear in mind that our agricultural strategies should not only be pro-poor and pro-nature but also pro-women,” the country’s first women President said in her address on Agriculture and Food Security here.
It was essential to enlist the support of Panchayati Raj institutions and agricultural universities to empower farmers in both value added processing and marketing, she added.
At a function organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Patil said the success story of the first Green Revolution has run its course and “we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”
The momentum generated by the first revolution needs to be sustained, she said.
Quoting the Economic Survey, the President said agricultural growth has become lacklustre as rain fed areas still constitute about 65 per cent of the total net sown area.
She said diminishing size of land holdings, degradation in land quality and soil health due to improper nutrient application and the threats of global warming are plaguing India’s agricultural production environment.
“Agriculture has to remain centre-stage in our nation’s economic thinking for making it attractive and rewarding”, she said.
She called for major investments in strengthening basic research in the frontier areas of agriculture sciences.
Patil said the pioneering role played by women in preservation of forests and top soil is well recognised.
Stating that 60 per cent of women were engaged in the farm sector, the President said: “we must therefore endeavour to mainstream gender considerations in areas of agricultural research, education and extension.”