Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail has emphasised the need to increase investment in agricultural research and technology sector to meet out the challenges of expanding world wide demand for food combined with land and water resources constraints.

Butail said it while addressing the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference being held at Johannesburg from 1-6 September, 2013. He was the first Speaker amongst all Presiding Officers of the Indian States to move the discussion on the subject “Role of Parliamentarians in Transfer of Technology and Research to Boost Agricultural Productivity”.

Butail said that Agricultural research and extension had undoubtedly contributed profoundly to development as demonstrated by the Green Revolution. He said that agriculture has the pivotal sector not only for ensuring food and nutritional security, sustainable development but also for the alleviation of poverty.

He said that parliamentarians, through their statements in the media, questions in the house, participation in the debates etc., bring into sharp focus the seriousness of various issues relating to agriculture and generate debate and discussion on the same. The members can also raise a number of questions over the execution of various programmes and policies laid down by the Government. Parliamentarians must also ensure that Agriculture Universities and training institutes re-engineer their approach to education and offer a variety of job oriented courses for agriculture graduates and allied disciplines giving them the know how to start their own ‘agriclincis’ and ‘agribusinesses’.

The Speaker said that agricultural research and development budgets were very low in most of developing countries whereas agricultural research enhances the capacities of the small farmers to increase their production and productivity. Therefore, Parliament must ensure that appropriate budget was available to research and development activity of the agriculture. He said that the Parliamentarians can ensure a policy framework for increased regional networking and collaboration among countries needed to collectively meet international trade related research and technology development demands. Sunder Singh Verma, secretary, Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly accompanied speaker at the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.

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