Mysore/Mysuru: Stressing on the need for encouraging small farmers to take up smart farming, Padma Shri awardee Scientist Prof. S. Ayyappan (Subbanna Ayyappan), who is also the Chairman of Gurugram based National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), said that development of farmers who provide us food, should be the first priority.
He was delivering the valedictory address of the 4-day 9th International Food Convention ‘IFCoN 2023,’ organised by the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India), at CSIR-CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) campus here yesterday.
Underlining the importance of using Big Data Analytics, Remote Sensing, Image Processing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Machine Learning, Block Chain Technology, Sensor and Robotics and the like, Prof. Ayyappan emphasised on the need for cutting down agricultural costs.
Noting that 85 percent of the farmers in our country own less than 5 acres of land, he said that this percentage is expected to go up to 90 in the coming years.
He also called for innovations in agri production using less quantity of water.
Pointing out that the world has witnessed the effects of climate change in the past 15 years, he said that this has had an adverse impact on grain production, fisheries and dairy farming. As such, it has become inevitable for us to carry out research on crops that are best suited.
Reiterating that food is God, he said that it is for this reason that development of farmers should come first and all other things later. “As per the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 7 are related to the Agriculture sector. Priority should be given for chemical-free farming. Doing so will prevent the damage that is being caused to nature by the use of chemical fertilizers,” he said.
Continuing, Prof. Ayyappan said that 70 percent of the population will habitat in urban areas in the near future. This will cause a natural imbalance leading to water crisis and other issues. As such, more allocation should be made in the Budget for meeting water shortage and at the same time, the Government should carry out a widespread campaign on judicious use of water, he said adding that farmers should take up organic farming for enhancing soil fertility and for better crop yield.
Maintaining that stability and sustainability in food production has become a challenge in the wake of natural disasters such as drought, floods, global climate change etc., he said that conserving biodiversity is crucial for achieving SDGs.
Scientist and former CFTRI Director Dr. V. Prakash too spoke. Prizes were distributed to the winners of best poster, best oral presentation and achievement during the valedictory.
NIFTEM-Thanjavur Director Prof. V. Palanimuthu, CSIR-CFTRI Director Dr. Sridevi Annapoorna Singh, CSIR-IITR (Lucknow) Director Dr. N. Bhaskar, Organising Secretary Dr. Suresh D. Sakhare, Co-Chairperson Dr. K.V. Harish Prashanth, Telangana’s ICRISAT Accelerated Crop Improvement Research Programme Director Dr. Sean Mayes and others were present.
The 4-day event featured a number of oral presentations, poster presentations, with special emphasis on the themes provided and a Food Expo that featured as many as 85 stalls and showcased the food processing machineries, instruments, ingredients, processed food etc.
Over 2,500 experts and representatives, both domestic and foreign, took part in the 4-day event.