Catch them young appears to be the new mantra of the In- dian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). For, the council is thinking of recommending to the authorities to introduce agriculture in the school syllabus in a bid to attract students towards agricultural education and research right from the tender age.
Speaking at the inauguration of the global alumni meet organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences- Bengaluru Alumni Association here, ICAR Director-General S. Ayyappan said presently most of the talented youth were choosing medical and en- gineering courses, especially IT.
“There is a dire need to attract tal- ent to agricultural education to help the country’s farm sector. To ensure this, we must start creating aware- ness among them about agriculture and agri-education right from school,” he said. Stressing the need to create public awareness that agriculture is actually a “harvest of hope” and “not despair”, he made an appeal to the retired agricultural scientists to join hands with ICAR in mentoring farm- ers and taking forward the mission of knowledge-based farming.
“Farmers have often expressed a view that there is no substitute to a scientist of standing visiting them to provide first-hand assistance,” he said, requesting retired scientists to visit fields and district-level Krishi Vigyan Kendras as and when they get time to share their experience and expertise.
Pointing out that UAS-B Alumni Association with 9,600 members was one of the unique ones in the coun- try that had statutory status and was known for the high reputation of its members, he called upon the associa- tion to mentor the agricultural sec- tor of not just the State, but also the country. Expressing concern that the latest survey by ICAR had put the average post-harvest losses of vari- ous crops at Rs. 95,000 crore a year, he called for giving impetus to food processing and value addition to pre- vent such losses.