Agriculture is facing challenges of reduction in arable land due to urbanisation and climate change, noted Odisha Governor Dr S C Jamir.

Addressing the 37th Convocation of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT)here, Dr Jamir said the aim is to overcome such challenges through technology and ensure long-term food security and build a profitable, sustainable and environment-friendly agriculture system.

The highest emphasis will have to put on research for the development of agriculture and this research has to be carried out taking the food demand of the people, scarcity of land, existing climate and environment into consideration.

More than 60 per cent of State’s total workforce is dependent on agriculture. This sector is the prime mover of the State’s economy contributing around 15.5 per cent to the Gross State Domestic Product.

There is a larger need to improve agricultural production. For this, the State requires most efficient land and water management practices, Governor added. OUAT has grown from its initial identity as the second agriculture university in the country to being recognised today as a comprehensive agriculture university, he said Governor.

Delivering the Convocation address Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, appealed to develop this university as a unitary entity competing for grant in aid and all supports of the council and government.

In the future days, in taking up the challenge of doubling farmers’ income, we have conducive agroecology, endowed natural resource and human capability in the state, he opined. He suggested to intensify the use of water resources of the state through micro and sensor based technologies in irrigation management; development of biofortified crop varieties in field crops and intensify use of technologies.

Dr Mohapatra highlighted the need to attract and retain youth and agriculture through post harvest and value addition activity; establishment of agro service & information centre in each GP. Honourary Doctorate Degree was conferred upon Padma Vibhusan Prof. M S Swaminathan, legendary agri scientist, Dr L N Acharjyo, eminent zoo veterinarian.

Governor awarded degrees, medals and prizes to successful candidates. In the convocation, 752 graduates, 452 graduates and 14 PhD degrees were conferred. Besides, 113 gold medals, 3 Chancellor’s running cup & cash prize and three V-C’s cup and cash prizes were awarded to persons for academics and co-curriculars.