Government starts programmes to connect farmers to lab

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) To apply science to boost rural economy, the government on Wednesday announced the launch of two new programmes — Biotech-KISAN and Cattle Genomics.

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said the intent of the programmes is to form a network to farmers directly with the scientists and experts.

The Minister in his address here said the Prime Minister’s emphasis “on the importance to work on the problems faced by our farmers is a great motivation factor for the scientist community”.

“The Prime Minister has emphasised that it is important for scientists to work on the problems being faced by our farmers. Biotech-KISAN is a new programme that empowers farmers, especially women farmers,” the Minister said.

The second programme ‘Cattle Genomics’ will focus on livestock yield. Explaining Biotech-KISAN (Krishi Innovation Science Application Network), the Minister said the programme focuses on the small, least educated marginalised farmers and women farmers.

“The scientists will spend time on farms and link communication t ools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the small holding farmers and provide ready solutions,” the Minister said.

Women farmers will be offered fellowships for training must the scheme.

This scheme will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones. In each of these 15 regions, a farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region.

The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions. The minister added that the network will have a commuication cell to make radio and TV programmes.

Adding the demand for animal food products in India will increase by 2020, the minister said that the second programme Cattle Genomics would focus on selective breeding of the native livestock Officials of Biotechnology department said that genomic selection will ensure high-yielding, disease-resistant, resilient livestock.

“Traditional Breeding takes time. Genetic improvement of livestock through traditional selection for increasing livestock productivity has major limitations. To overcome these, genomic selection has played a crucial role in livestock industry globally,” the department said in a statement.

Under this programme, a high-density DNA chips will be developed to reduced the cost and time interval of breeding.

–IANS

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