E-mail: [email protected]
From the desk of Vice Chancellor…
It is indeed my proud privilege to serve this esteemed institution of higher learning as Vice-Chancellor. This university has already etched an indelible mark on the edifice of national agricultural research and education system (NARES) within two decades of its establishment. All my predecessors starting from the founder Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sunil Kumar Brahamachari contributed immensely in establishing a solid foundation for this university. It will be my solemn duty to consolidate that effort and take it to the next levelof self-realization.
Though food availability was never a concern in ancient India, it emerged as a serious threat during colonial period. Green revolution that emanated from the fields of Indian Agricultural Research Institute during 1960s and augmented by the network of State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) mitigated that threat and reversed the situation from food scarcity to food surplus condition. However, extensive degradation of agricultural land due to input-intensive nature of varieties and technologies developed during green revolution and adverse effect of changing climate during post green revolution period complicated the food situation in the country. Moreover, in terms of Global Hunger Index, India is still in a serious state. At the top of it the UN is aiming for a zero hunger world by 2030. The food demand in India is expected to rise up to ~400 million tonnes (MT) by the year 2050. Moreover, the food basket of the country will undergo a drastic change due to economic growth, life style change and dietary preference.On the other hand, all the natural resources including soil, water, and fossil fuel are under severe constraint. Inputs for agricultural production will also become scarcer and dearer with time. It is imperative that future food production technologies should cause minimum stress on natural resources and least damage to ecosystem.
Agriculture sector in the state of West Bengal has performed remarkably well that enabled it to be the leader in production of rice, jute and vegetables and second largest producer of potato in the country. Of late, it has also succeeded in selectively boosting production of pulses and oilseed as a consequence of which production of these two critical but scarce food items registered an impressive growth of 169% and 64% respectively, during 2010-11 to 2018-19. This remarkable achievements of the state has been recognized by the Government of India through awarding “KrishiKarman” thrice in a row. However, it has inflicted similar constrains on the land, water and other natural resources like that of national level.
Under this background, we have to now strike a balance between cutting edge technologies for enhancing crop productivity and their economic and ecological cost. Future agriculture in India should foster an inclusive growth in a sustainable basis. Research emphasis should be given on integrated farming system (IFS) approach for technology development, water use efficiency, nutrient responsive instead of nutrient intensive technologies, conservation agriculture, multitasking precision tools, broadening genetic base of varieties, breeding for multiple stress tolerance, conferring atmospheric nitrogen fixation ability to crop plants, improving photosynthetic carbon fixation efficiency, root biology & architecture for input use efficiency and sink strength, bio-intensive crop management, use of info-chemicals for integrated pest management (IPM), DSS & forecasting for environmental safety, biofortification of crop varieties, improving biofuel production form biomass, development of processing varieties and technologies, on-farm storage and primary processing technologies, energy-efficient storage technology, export facilitation, promotion of health & wellness foods and green technologies. It can be achieved only by establishing effective linkages with national and international institutions of repute. The onus of developing agriculture sector of this region in a sustainable manner rests exclusively on this University.
This University was established by the West Bengal Act XX of 2000 for the development of agriculture and for the furtherance of the advancement of learning and prosecution of research and extension in agriculture and allied sciences. The jurisdiction of the University covers all the eight districts of North Bengal that covers about 18.35% of the State’s total area. Agriculture remains the prime occupation for the people of this region. Diverse agro-ecological settings, food habits of people, and unique geographical location provide a unique opportunity to the agricultural sector of this region. The region has already emerged as the hub for production of several high value vegetables, fruits, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants. Besides, there is ample opportunity for organic farming in this region. This University has the solemn responsibility of developing innovative technologies to facilitate sustainable agricultural growth in this region. Besides, it should also ensure effective transfer of such technologies as well as skill development of farmers and other stakeholders associated with agriculture sector.