As part of the ongoing Seed World 2019, a 14-member delegation of eminent people met Chief Minister Mr. BS Yediyurappa in Bengaluru today. The delegation discussed with farmers issues and the policy push needed to boost the growth of agriculture in Karnataka, especially in making Karnataka the global hub of seed production. The delegation members also suggested that the state can create an apex body to give boost to agri-exports and agri-startups of Karnataka.
The Delegation was led by Chairman Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) Dr MJ Khan. The members of the delegation included Mr Michael Keller, Secretary General of International Seed Federation; H.E. Mr Gabriel Sinimbo, High Commissioner of Namibia; Mr Ido Verhagen, CEO, Seed Index Amsterdam; Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vice Chancellor, UAS Bangalore; Dr Manjit K. Misra, DirectorSeed Science Centre, Iowa State University, USA; Mr Ramesh Deshpande, CEO, IAG International, Washington among others. Dr Khan said that increasingly, states worldwide were promoting themselves for industry, trade, commerce and other activities. This was in line with the call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the various states to pursue excellence in diverse fields of activity.
State-level delegations from India were now wooing investors and innovators globally, said Dr Khan. In this light, Karnataka has great potential to position itself as the global hub of seed production and sourcing, and offer diverse seed production for exports. Dr Khan stated during the meeting that with the right application of human resources and enterprise, Karnataka has the strength and the ability to be the world leader in hybrid seed production , especially high value pollinated vegetables, field crops and flower seeds. Dr Khan said that Karnataka can also diversify the seed export basket, boost high value seed exports and establish Brand India Seed globally. PM Shri Narendra Modi has laid great stress upon boost in agri exports as a major milestone to increase farm income. The strong IT sector of Karnataka, said Dr Khan, give it the extra edge to lead this sector. Bengaluru is the IT hub of the country, and boasts of more and more agri start-ups. Dr Khan said that IT-driven agriculture is going to be a whole new model of agricultural activity in the country. In this new-age agriculture marked by agri start-ups, IT is at the core of each model. “We can expect that one of the major facets of the next era of agriculture shall be start-ups driven. Each model of start-ups has IT at itscore. Karnataka can take the lead in this new eco-system where IT and agriculture shall find common areas of growth and thrive together,” he said.
A major recommendation made by the delegation was that district-level institutional platforms must be created. These can be given the name of District Agriculture Councils. These platforms must have public-privatepartnership to empower the farmer through an institutionalized approach. Dr Khan said that PM Shri Narendra Modi had said that he would implement by 2022 —the 75th anniversary of Indian independence — his dream of doubling farmers’income. Such power of collective action could play in decisive role in increasing farmers’ incomes. Dr Khan also discussed with Chief Minister Yediyurappa that the future of agriculture is precision farming. Drones and robotics can play a crucial role on farms.