Stating that rice forms the bedrock of our food security, she said that agricultural scientists must consider its nutritional aspects too
President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday called upon agriculture scientists to meet the challenges of changing climate and maintaining ecological balance to raise production of rice which forms the bedrock of the nation’s food security.
Inaugurating the second Indian Rice Congress here, Murmu lauded agriculture scientists saying they have immensely contributed to make India a food surplus country.
Noting that India is now the leading consumer and exporter of rice, she said that the situation was different when the nation got its freedom.
“In those days, we were dependent on imports to meet our food requirements,” she noted.
While giving credit to the National Rice Research Institute (ICCR-NRRI), the President reminded them about the challenges ahead.
She said the paddy crop requires high amounts of water but many parts of the world are facing severe water shortages due to climate change.
Noting that droughts, floods and cyclones are now more frequent which makes rice cultivation more vulnerable, she said there are places where traditional varieties of rice are facing challenges.
“Thus, the task before us today is to find the middle path: preserving and conserving traditional varieties on one hand, and maintaining ecological balance on the other,” she told the gathering of agriculture scientists.
Another challenge is to save the soil from excessive use of chemical fertilisers, which are considered necessary for modern rice cultivation, Murmu said.
Noting that it is essential to reduce dependence on such fertilisers to keep the soil healthy, the President called upon the scientists to “devise eco-friendly rice production systems”.
Stating that rice forms the bedrock of our food security, she said that agricultural scientists must consider its nutritional aspects too.
The President expressed happiness that the ICAR-NRRI has developed India’s first high-protein rice, called CR Dhan 310, and it has also released a high-zinc rice variety, called CR Dhan 315.
She said that development of such bio-fortified varieties is an ideal example of science in the service of society.
“More and more of such efforts would be needed to support the increasing population amid a changing climate,” she said while expressing confidence that India’s scientific community would rise to the challenge.
Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Odisha’s agriculture minister RP Swain and other dignitaries attended the function.
With this programme, Murmu completed her two-day visit to the state and returned to New Delhi by a special Indian Air Force aircraft from Biju Patnaik International Airport here.
This was Murmu’s second visit to her home state after assuming charge of the top constitutional post in the country in July last year. Her first visit was in November 2022.