The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in its ongoing attempts to deepen engagement with the private sector, has now entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global biotech and agri-major Bayer for resource-efficient technology development and enhancing farmers’ income through regenerative agriculture.
A few weeks back, the Council had signed an MoU with e-commerce leader Amazon to guide farmers enrolled on its ‘Kisan store’ on scientific cultivation of different crops and help them achieve optimum yield and income.
On the Bayer MoU, an official statement said that the institutional partnership between Bayer and ICAR will work to promote efficient agronomic practices such as Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) in paddy cultivation.
It will also work towards developing carbon credit markets.
“ICAR has an extensive network of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) for extension, and this network will facilitate DSR adoption by farmers in different agro-ecologies. Bayer will support the KVK agri-entrepreneurs through awareness and education programmes, input availability, and mechanisation solutions in defined clusters,” the official statement said.
The statement also said that the partnership between ICAR and Bayer will work towards empowering smallholder farmers in achieving greater yields, adopting water-efficient practices, and providing them with an opportunity to earn additional incentives through better market linkages.
As part of the collaboration, Krishi Vigyan Kendras will strengthen outreach to a wider farmers’ base by leveraging technological know-how and expertise through the transfer of technology and capacity-building programmes.
Dr Himanshu Pathak, Secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General of ICAR, expressed that the collaboration with private partners in research and extension is path-breaking.
“This collaboration will lead to resource-efficient technology development and its dissemination. KVKs will play an important role in the assessment of these technologies in different agro-ecologies and their adoption and diffusion among the farming community,” Pathak said.
He said specific work plans will be developed in the identified core areas.
A few weeks back, ICAR unveiled its intention to deepen engagement with the private sector in seed research and collaboration in extension services and marketing.
ICAR Institutes are also looking to open up their facilities, labs, and fields for joint research with the private sector in seed development and other related sectors and could also look at royalty sharing of patented products with the private sector.
“The Council is planning to come up with a comprehensive guideline for private sector participation in the entire value chain of agriculture in the next two months, which will further elucidate this,” ICAR Director General Himanshu Pathak had told Business Standard on the sidelines of its foundation day celebrations.