Over the past 44 years, the four state-run agriculture colleges have created only 72 research tools for farmers – an average of about one agricultural innovation every two years.
Considering that these universities receive annual funds of around Rs. 657 crore and have been allotted a total of 15,812 hectares of land for research, their performance has come under question.
The state has constituted a committee that will investigate the work done by these colleges in the past 44 years.
“A committee has been formed under expert YK Alagh, which will conduct an audit of the research work done by these universities. It will also suggest means and ways to overhaul the entire system as it is not up to our expectations. If we expect innovations, we need to strengthen the research process and get our students involved with the needs of the farmers and the current industry,” said agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
As a part of the policy, each agricultural college has been given land on which teachers and students have to set up research projects on crops and cropping patter ns of farmers in the area.
The four state universities are based in Rahuri, Akola, Parbhani and Konkan, all of which have different climatic conditions, giving a wider scope for innovation in research projects.
But the progress has been rather slow, according to figures from the department.
In the course of the past 44 years, the four universities have only worked on 72 research projects to create tools for farmers.
However, much of this land, agriculture department sources say, has been encroached upon.
The department was unable to give exact information on which projects are taking place on the 15,812 hectares of land.