There is need for more investment in agricultural education and research to increase agriculture production in the country, Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) Vice Chancellor K S Khokhar said.
"Today merely 0.5 per cent of the budget outlay has been spent on agricultural education, research and extension which is far less than the required," he said while addressing a group of 30 Haryana Civil Service (HCS) probationers.
The HCS probationers are here in the university since November 25 to attend a two-week appreciation course in agriculture. Khokhar said that the major challenge before agriculture experts was to increase crop production from limited available natural resources.
He said though sufficient technology was available to face most challenges in agriculture but there was a crunch of qualified and trained human resource in agricultural universities to give effect to new researches in agriculture.
He further apprised the HCS probationers of various challenges and needs of the agriculture sector. He said the land holdings were shrinking and underground water table was falling due to excessive exploration.
The count of insects and microbes useful to agriculture was declining due to use of over dozes of insecticides, pesticides and burning of crop residue in fields, thus affecting the soil health and polluting the environment, he said.
He said there was need to make available different farm machinery to small and marginal farmers who due to their poor economic condition were not able to afford purchase of costly machinery for different farm operations.
"Since, there number was very large, the production losses owing to delay in sowing and harvesting were also very high," he said.