The celebrations were quiet, but the message was loud.
The usual pomp and grandeur was missing as Birsa Agriculture University in Ranchi (BAU) marked its 32nd foundation day on Tuesday with a clarion call to its scientists and students to ensure increased food production to ward off political and social unrest in the future.
No political heavyweight or any representative from the state government graced the programme at BAU auditorium. The only distinguished guest in attendance was Gopal Jee Trivedi, former vice chancellor of Rajendra Agricultural University, Bihar. BAU vice chancellor M.P. Pandey was also present.
“The talents of scientists and students will no longer be assessed exclusively in classrooms. The real test will be socio-economic development of farmers, improvement in foodgrain productivity, development of human resources and increased employment opportunities,” said Trivedi.
Foodgrain production is linked to political, economic and social security. The country has been bestowed with natural resources — abundant sunlight, sufficient rainfall and rich soil — conducive to healthy farm production.
“However, the scientists need to fight against frequent climate changes, floods and droughts by inventing improved technologies and newer seed varieties. The failure to come up with viable solutions will not go down well with the masses,” Trivedi warned.
Pandey pointed out that foodgrain production in the 2011-12 fiscal touched an all-time high of 65 lakh tonne. However, he warned that increased R&D activities were needed to combat the menace of new varieties of pests and climate changes.
The varsity chose the occasion to announce three new experimental learning units on its campus at a cost of Rs 2.30 crore. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will provide the funds.
The three units — dedicated to cultivation and processing of medicinal plants, value addition and marketing of milk and milk products, and strengthening bio control — will ensure development of newer technologies in agriculture, veterinary and forestry with the help of increased interaction with farmers.
BAU also set up a committee under dean of postgraduate studies Z.A. Haider to study a draft ICAR act that is being circulated to bring about uniform curriculum, teaching standard and governance at all 55 agricultural universities in the country.