President Droupadi Murmu addresses 2nd Rice Congress in Odisha’s Cuttack

The session, which was attended by over 300 participants, revolved around discussions on the role of modern technology to address food security.

Cuttack: Rice is not just a food grain but an intrinsic part of India’s heritage and culture, said President Droupadi Murmu while addressing the second Rice Congress at ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) at Bidyadharpur in Odisha’s Cuttack district on Saturday. Stressing on impact of climate change on global food crisis, Murmu spoke about how rice plays a key role in the economy and food security of the country. The grain, with its myriad varieties, finds prominent mention in several ancient literatures including the Vedas. Many rituals in the country are incomplete without rice which signifies its place in Indian tradition, she said.

“Akshat’, the unbroken rice, which is a symbol of prosperity and even the wholeness of life. In many parts of India, the first solid food given to a child is usually something made of rice. It also features in famous legends and myths. I am sure you remember many tales such as the one about Sudama’s Rice, which underlines the bonds of love between old friends. Rice is rightly called the ‘grain of life’.  India, of course, has been the biggest exporter of the grain, helping people in other parts of the world ensure basic food security – and also letting them savour different rice varieties Though India is the leading consumer and exporter of rice today, the situation was different when the nation became free. The National Rice Research Institute was established in 1946, soon after the Great Bengal Famine and just before we won independence. In those days, we were dependent on imports to meet our food requirements, and often the nation lived what was called a ship-to-mouth existence. If the nation could overcome that dependency and has become the largest exporter, a lot of credit goes to the NRRI. The institute has contributed immensely to India’s food security and also to enhancing farmers’ lives. For more than 75 years now, the NRRI has been working in the areas of basic, applied and adaptive research related to paddy while also imparting training to the various stakeholders.” Murmu said.

Applauding the scientists of NRRI for coming up with new varieties of rice like India’s first protein rice CR-Dhan 310, Murmu said the institute has helped improve the nutritional profile of the country and called upon the scientific community to preserve traditional varieties of rice along with coming up with new ones.

Bio-fortification of rice is instrumental in combating malnutrition and this has been possible only because of science, she added. Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, who was also present, said in over eight years of tenure, Modi government has come up with many policies for the benefit of the farming community. “Due to protection and compensation policies, farmers are now able to reap benefits. The outlay for the agricultural sector has been higher in this year’s budget too,” Tomar said, adding that India is not only self-sufficient now but is also exporting to other countries struggling with climate change and food crisis.

The session, which was attended by over 300 participants, revolved around discussions on the role of modern technology to address food security. Also present were Odisha Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal, Minister of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Ranendra Pratap Swain , Director General of ICAR Dr Himanshu Pathak, ARRW president Dr PK Agarwal.







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