Video: Panel Discussion during the Workshop ‘Harnessing Agricultural Education and Research for Rural Development’

Under the aegis of the Agricultural Innovation Partnership, a collaborative workshop titled ‘Harnessing Agricultural Education and Research for Rural Development’ was held in Radisson Blu hotel, Dwarka, New Delhi on December 19–21 which involved a panel discussion at Plant Pathology Auditorium, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa campus on December 20, 2011. The panel discussion focused on how the agricultural extension system in India could be developed to provide maximum benefit to the society. The topic of the discussion read ‘Agricultural Education and Extension as Drivers: Preparing for the Future’. The panel included Mr. Asim Parekh, Vice-President, Technical at Coca-Cola, India; R. K. Mittal, Assistant Director General (EPD), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Max Pfeffer, Senior Associate Dean, Cornell University; B. B. Singh, Senior Business Development Manager, Tata Chemicals Limited; C. S. Prakash, Professor, Biotechnology, Tuskegee University and Moses B. Kwapata, Principal, University of Malawi.

Panel Discussion 1/7

Mr. Asim Parikh talks about the benefits of collaboration between the agricultural colleges and universities, public and private institutions and how these will benefit the farmers and rural entrepreneurs.


Panel Discussion 2/7

Dr. R. K. Mittal talks about the role and importance of ICAR in agricultural education in India and the importance of the food processing sector in national capacity building and how professional support could help coordinate reforms by providing a common platform for discussion on curriculum and academic regulations. Prof. Subedar Singh talks about the importance of the AIP program in the Indo-gangetic plain which would benefit the farmers on a large scale. Prof. Anantheswaran briefly discusses agricultural education and extension and also talks about how best one could manage technology for development. Dr. R. K. Mittal talks about encouraging students in taking up agricultural studies and the need of imparting proper training to help them get the right jobs.

Panel Discussion 3/7

Prof. Max Pfeffer talks about making use of the latest technologies during the process of knowledge dissemination to the farmers, the importance of education and extension in India and the way they are inter-linked. Mr. B. B. Singh speaks about the two main rising concerns among Indian agricultural farmers the rising cost of agricultural inputs and the shortage of labour in the agricultural sector. He also discusses a course developed by Tata Chemicals in partnership with John Deere.

Panel Discussion 4/7

Mr. B. B. Singh talks about the introduction of the 1 year course for school drop-outs by Tata Chemicals in collaboration with John Deere. He elaborates saying that the 75-day course involves both classroom and on-the-job training to help students enhance their skills. Prof. David Hansen discusses the importance of encouraging and guiding students in finding the right jobs in the agricultural sector, the importance of educational partnerships and the mutual benefits gained from these partnerships.

Panel Discussion 5/7

Dr. C. S. Prakash shares his experiences of working closely with the agricultural universities. Prof. Baldev Singh Dhillon discusses how both students and professionals could be encouraged to generate better opportunities in the agricultural sector. He also talks about how internships could ensure an effective learning experience. Prof. Bhadriraju Subramanyam suggests that universities in India and abroad need to focus on three important aspects which are student recruitment, retention and education.

Panel Discussion 6/7

Prof. Moses B. Kwapata discusses the land policy in India and its impact on food productivity. Mr. B. B. Singh talks on how Tata Chemicals assisted farmers with small land holdings use big machines successfully. He also speaks on the importance of the rural woman’s contribution in decision making in the agricultural sector.

Panel Discussion 7/7

Dr. R. K. Mittal discusses the need to leverage the close links between the private and the public sectors for the greater benefit of the students and the society. Prof. C. Ramasamy speaks on TNAU’s interventions in training various factory workers as well as professionals across several industries, and its benefits. Dr. Nar Kaji Gurung comments on finding an effective solution to the problems of small industrial producers.

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