Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Government of Bihar, Shri Amarendra Pratap Singh inaugurated a Three-Day Capacity Development Training and Exposure Visit Program organized by IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) at Varanasi on 27 July 2022 for associate professors and scientists of Bihar Agriculture University (BAU). Dr. Arun Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, BAU, Sabour, Bihar; Dr. Anil Kumar Singh, Vice-President, National Academy of Agricultural Science (NAAS), New Delhi; and Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director, ISARC, Varanasi were also graciously present in the inaugural ceremony. This training event is being undertaken in collaboration with the BAU under its Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) Program funded by the Government of Bihar.
Addressing the training participants and ISARC staff, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Govt. of Bihar said, “the government has been working for allround agricultural development through various schemes, programs, and partnerships, which are impacting the agriculture sector, as well as enhancing the income of farmers in Bihar”. He highly appreciated the joint efforts of Govt. of India and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for the establishment of the State-of-the-Art Research Facilities at ISARC, Varanasi for catering to the needs of farmers across South Asia as a whole, eastern India in particular, and especially Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. He emphasized the longer-term collaboration of IRRI with the BAU and the State Government for the welfare and prosperity of farmers as well as researchers from Bihar. He urged for the development of short-duration rice varieties with both drought and flood tolerance that suit stress-prone environments as well as area-specific soil and agro-climatic conditions, and also provide better nutrition for common people.
Dr. Arun Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, BAU highlighted ISARC’s partnership with BAU in capacity building and research programs in the rice-based agrifood sector, mentioning recent training of more than 180 farmers under the CRA Program so far. He further emphasized the long-term collaboration of BAU with ISARC and IRRI HQ with regard to joint research and training initiatives for the students, researchers, extension workers, and scientists to learn about new technological developments in the rice sector. He stated the need for further collaboration with ISARC in developing nutraceutical and biofortified, and less input requiring rice varieties. He also said, “I believe that ISARC would provide a great research and education platform for BAU’s research scholars and students from graduation, master's and Ph.D. programs in expanding their knowledge in the field of rice science”.
Dr. Anil Kumar Singh, Vice-President, NAAS mentioned the importance of international exposure, joint research efforts, and capacity development of stakeholders for furthering the science, technology, and innovation in the agriculture sector. Prioritizing the challenges of achieving nutritional security for all, the efforts should be directed towards the development and promotion of biofortified varieties for rice, wheat, and millets, Dr. Singh said.
Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director, ISARC shared the vision of empowering the youth and aspiring agriculture enthusiasts to undertake research and training programs at ISARC. He presented an overview of the ongoing and future research priorities of ISARC, highlighting key activities of the Centre for Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA), Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture (CESA), and Centre of Education, Innovation and Research for Development (CEIRD) and potential support that ISARC can provide to the state of Bihar.
Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Govt. of Bihar visited different facilities at ISARC including CERVA, Advance Computational Biology Lab, GIS Lab, SpeedBreed, and Farm Machinery Hub along with the other delegates. He was highly impressed with the state-of-the-art facilities at ISARC and expressed his keen interest in further visits with a high-level official delegation.
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