Food security should be at the core of country's farm agenda as feeding the growing population with scarce resources is a big challenge union agriculture secretary PK Basu said on Friday.
"To meet the challenges of 21st century and to feed a billion plus population with only 2.3 per cent of global land resources and about 4.2 per cent of water resources, food security has to be at the core of the agriculture development agenda " Basu said while addressing at convocation of the College of Agriculture of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here Friday.
A PAU release quoting Basu said that due to the availability and adoption of high-yielding crop varieties inputs and farm machinery the production of food grains rose from 82 million tonnes in 1960-61 to 250 million tonnes in 2011-12.
"But the tough task of food and nutritional security still needs to be addressed," he added. Stating that science is going to help produce more in the wake of limited land resources Basu said, "The agriculture of tomorrow will be greatly influenced by the developments of biotechnology and nanotechnology."
The PAU has played a pivotal role in making Punjab a nationally dominant agricultural state which is rightly recognised as the "Food Bowl of India" he added.
With the water table key for agricultural production having gone down to more than 10 metres in 97 per cent of the cultivated area of Punjab, Basu said that the enactment of "Sub-soil Water Preservation Act " is a right step to check the excessive use of groundwater resources. The act bars transplantation of paddy before June 10.
Climate change is the emerging threat to sustainable agriculture he noted saying that the promotion of resource conservation technologies supported by precision farming operations like laser land leveller and tensiometer developed by the PAU can help the farmers minimise the impact of climate change.
Many policy initiatives are being taken by the governments at the State and Central level to accelerate growth in the agriculture sector.
The year 2012 has been declared as the year of "Horticulture" said Basu adding that focus will be on setting up of series of the state of the art facilities that would facilitate year-round production and efficient post-harvest handling.