President APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday said scientists should research in the area of using nano technology in agriculture.
Inaugurating the Global Forum on Agriculture Research – Triennial Conference 2006 on the theme "Re-orienting Agricultural Research to meet the Millennium Development Goals," he said, some of the possible areas in agriculture using nano technology are Nano-porous zeo-lites for slow-release and efficient doses of water and fertilizers for plant, and of nutrients and drugs for livestock, nano-capsules for herbicide delivery, nano sensors for soil quality and for plant health monitoring.
He said nano technology could be applied to food processing industry in the form of nano-composites for plastic film coatings used in food packaging,anti microbial nano-emulsions for applications in de-contamination of food equipment, packaging or food processing.
He said India has to develop agricultural technology for 89 million hectares of rainfed land out of 170 million hectares.
For improving the productivity from this land, we should develop intensive water shed management technologies. Simultaneously, scientists have to work on seed development for such areas,he added.
Fortunately, India has also got 70 million hectares of uncultivable land. Our research should be oriented to convert uncultivable land into cultivable land progressively through dry land and saline land cultivation technologies,he said.
'Plant Genomics' is the new emerging area of research, he said, to covert plants to be used as the bio-factories producing useful proteins, therapeutic molecules, nutritional compositions and stress tolerant varieties to meet the current and futuristic requirement of the society in eco-environment friendly manner, he added.
He said the role of agricultural science and scientists should be to find innovative methods using genomic research findings and technologies which will enhance productivity of the agricultural crops and make them tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said there is need to reverse the negative trend of declining public investment in agriculture. He said land resources for agricultural purposes are actually shrinking and water is becoming a scarce resource globally.
He said that by 2025, nearly 22 million hectare of irrigated rice areas in Asia may face "economic water scarcity" as supplies for irrigation become too expensive for rice farmers.
An additional 17 million hectares may confront "physical water scarcity" as supplies for irrigation simply dry up. Water use efficiency needs to be substantially enhanced, he added.