Solan, October 20
MS Swaminathan School of Agriculture at Shoolini University celebrated World Food Day.
Dr. Mangala Rai, Fellow NAAS (National Academy of Agricultural Sciences) and former DG, ICAR, was the key speaker, and in his address, he emphasised biotechnological interventions and augmenting production in the agricultural sector through avant-garde technologies. He also mentioned the famous quotation of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, “Everything else can wait, but not agriculture.”
Dr. Mangala stated that although our food production has taken a quantum jump (six times) since the 1960s, simultaneously there has been a remarkable reduction of soil carbon by 12 pc. Presently, cropping intensity is about 150 pc, which needs to be further enhanced by 200 pc, and there is an urgent need to enhance food production by another 75 pc to feed our ever-growing population.
Dr. Mangala Rai also talked about the engagement of the state and central governments and mentioned that they should add agriculture to the course lists of preliminary and school-level education.
Prof. R.C. Sobti, former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, discussed the diversification strategies of the agricultural production system considering the decreasing depth of the water table with intensive agriculture. He also explained the importance of rainwater harvesting, watershed, mulching, and conservation of water resources. He said food waste problems can be fixed by promoting post-harvest technologies that make it easier to store and add value to fruits and vegetables.
Prof. HC Sharma, Fellow of the NAAS and the Entomological Society of America, and former Vice-Chancellor of the Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, gave a lecture on genetic engineering, transgenic crop varieties, and other related biotechnological interventions for increasing agricultural production.
About 200 undergraduate and postgraduate students were present in the event along with all the faculty members of the MS Swaminathan School of Agriculture