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Achieving economies of scale in agriculture is a challenge, Prof. V. K. Ramachandran

Achieving economies of scale in agriculture is a challenge, Prof. V. K. Ramachandran

Achieving economies of scale in agriculture is a challenge and increasing productivity, profitability and ecological sustainability is the way forward to overcome these challenges, said Prof. V. K. Ramachandran, Vice Chairman of Kerala State Planning Board.

He was delivering the Foundation Day Lecture at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) to commemorate the 63rd year of its formation.

“We have a country with extraordinary natural resources and Kerala is a state with rich biodiversity that is rare on international scale. We should utilise this gift of nature. We are a state also with a population which is highly concentrated in a small area. If we did not find income bearing alternatives from the land, there would be a pressure to convert the land for other uses. In such circumstances how to increase production, productivity and sustainability, and how to integrate with an economy that generates welfare and production for the vast majority of the population are the challenges before us,” said Prof. Ramachandran.

“Productivity has relevance everywhere in the world and particularly in our State where so much pressure is there on cultivable land. On the one hand we have to take advantage of the biodiversity for boosting the income, but on the other, the arable land is disappearing very quickly. Therefore we should once again strengthen our research systems and set a vision for improving productivity, in order maintain national self sufficiency and to reap the advantages of our rich biodiversity. Profitability may be explained basically as the income to the growers.”

A wide range of factors like international policies, marketing strategies, forward linkages for value addition etc. influence profitability. Profitability depends on cost of cultivation also. A wide range of economic measures are essential to translate the various advantages we possess into profitability. Investment and credit related decisions can also be taken to boost productivity and profitability. The issue of ecological sustainability has special relevance in this era which is conscious of climatic change.

“It also has a special significance in our State, after the recent extreme event of heavy rain, flood and landslides. One should not counterpose the needs of the environment, to the needs of development and productivity. We must act in such a way that both the development, and production are sustained and environment is protected from degradation. Production, profitability and ecology is a question of scale and how we tackle this question in Kerala is very important and no magic answers are there for it, said Prof. Ramachandran.

D Anandan IAS, Executive Director and Chairman of the Rubber Board in his speech said that RRII has grown into an international centre of excellence in rubber research. The Institute has made significant contribution to the rubber industry. He urged the scientific community to rededicate themselves to the core principles of rational thinking and scientific temperament as rubber industry is passing through a rough phase.

Dr. James Jacob, Director, Rubber Research Institute of India welcomed the gathering and Dr. Kavitha K Mydin proposed a vote of thanks. RRII Foundation Day is observed to commemorate the official transfer of its present premises, then known as ‘Kothapara’, to the Rubber Board by the Travancore-Cochin Government to start an experiment station and a research institute on 5 October 1955. Over the years, RRII has grown into a premier research institute of international repute making the Indian natural rubber sector one of the most productive in the world.

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