Supported by wide-ranging reforms
particularly beginning 1991,
However, weakening agricultural performance beginning with the mid
nineties, is a national concern.
The marked slow-down in growth rates in the
traditional “green revolution states” and the breadbasket of the country,
green revolution in wheat and rice, white revolution in milk, yellow revolution
in oilseed and the “blue revolution” in fisheries have augmented the food
basket of the country. But many technological challenges remain. First, despite
the shrinking share (23%) of the agricultural sector in the economy, the
majority of the labour force (nearly 60%) continues
to depend on agriculture. About 75% of
To address these challenges and to generate
additional income and employment for the poor, the role of agricultural
research and development (R&D) is critical. Given the limited scope for
area expansion, increases in productivity, profitability and competitiveness
will have to be the main parameters of the agricultural growth in the future
and this should be led or triggered by advances and innovations in, and
applications of science in agriculture.
In other words, Indian agriculture will have to shift from resource or
input-based growth to knowledge or science-based growth. In this paradigm shift, the flow of knowledge
and innovations plays a critical role. R&D assumes more importance because
it is a cost-effective method for promoting growth with sustainability while
attaining competitiveness. For making agricultural R&D achieve these goals,
first the R&D system efficiency has to be enhanced and the enabling
environment for science to excel has to be created. Secondly, new and innovative
ways of doing research have to be developed like pursuing a production to
consumption system (PCS) approach which comprises the entire set of actors,
materials, activities services and institutions involved in growing, harvesting
and handling a particular commodity, transforming it into usable and/or higher
value product, and marketing the final product. Studies show growing regional
The recently concluded National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) led by the ICAR aimed to implement a shared understanding of the Government of India and the World Bank on technology-led-pro-poor growth, and facilitated the public sector reform process for accelerating the flow of agricultural technologies. A key lesson from the NATP is that deliberate investments in partnership building and shared governance are required to speed up technology adaptation and dissemination. Another lesson was that while the project undertook an enormous number of activities, mostly successfully, the bigger picture was very clear in the extension component where the project activities were guided by a well defined conceptual model for collaborative agricultural extension. The challenges, opportunities and the lessons learnt in the NATP provide a useful framework to move forward.
The NAIP responds to the GOI’s objectives as expressed in
Statistical Survey, Office of the Registrar
2 The inter-state comparisons are largely based on the old National Accounts (1980-81 base), which show a much slower overall growth of agricultural GDP than the new National Accounts (1993/94 base). See World Bank (2000) footnote 9 for detailed discussion.
3 TFP measures the amount of increase in total output that is not accounted for by increases in total inputs.
The Indo-Gangetic Plain is one of the most fertile
POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
Since the agricultural scenario is changed, the policies also need to change. The policy changes should reflect continued priority on food and nutritional security, increased market orientation, focus on disadvantaged regions, break yield and quality barriers by strengthening basic and strategic research, provide for an enhanced role of the private sector, NGOs etc.
First of all, agricultural development is increasingly market rather than production driven. With falling staple food prices and rising urban incomes, the pay-off has slowly improved to strategies that enhance agricultural diversification and increase the value added of agricultural production. Secondly, it is increasingly realized that the generation, diffusion and application of new knowledge often takes place more efficiently through the private sector5. A significant part of the technology package that farmers use has also been designed by and supplied through private businesses (e.g., fertilizers, machinery, pesticides, seeds). With increasing commercialization, the role of the private sector as technology supplier grows. Thirdly, through the ICT revolution (particularly the internet), the ability to take advantage of knowledge that has been developed in other places, or for other purposes, has grown. How to capitalize on existing new knowledge has become a question that is as important as how to generate and diffuse new knowledge.
This is where the concept of a national agricultural innovation system (NAIS) becomes important. A NAIS is made up of the institutions, enterprises and individuals that demand and supply knowledge and technologies, and the rules and mechanisms by which these different agents are interacting. In this concept the focus is not only on the science suppliers but also on the totality of actors that are involved in innovation. The role of the private sector and as well as of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) associated with the innovation are more explicitly recognized, end-market demands are more integrated and the conditions that need to be fulfilled for innovations to become successful are better spelled out. Following the lessons from the industrial applications, the effectiveness of the NAIS depends on three main elements:
· An institutional environment that is conducive to the flow of knowledge, to collaboration, experimentation and implementation of innovations.
· A well articulated demand for new knowledge, technology and institutional and policy innovations. Producers, traders and others must be able to express their demand and must be in a capacity to adapt and adopt new knowledge and technology.
· The effective supply of new knowledge and technology, from the public research system, but also from other sources, such as indigenous knowledge, private sector research and even transfers from abroad.
The institutional framework for NAIP therefore needs to be designed to match with the policy changes and the elements of the NAIS articulated above.
5 The private sector encompasses all non-government agencies such as the corporate sector, voluntary organizations, self-help groups, partnership firms, individuals and community based organizations etc.
1.3 Objectives of NAIP
Agricultural innovations and diffusion of new technologies are important factors in the country’s quest for food, nutrition, environmental security and enhancement of income and employment. Agricultural research in India has generated outstanding productivity increases in the past and shall continue to play an important role to support rural livelihoods and accelerating rural growth. However, rising population and per capita income are pushing up the food demand, which needs to be met through enhanced productivity per unit area, input, time and energy. At the same time, issues of decreasing factor productivity and resource use efficiency have emerged. Furthermore, many promising research findings have not reached the producers, due either to the inadequacies of research design or research results, deficiencies of delivery systems or a lack of economic incentives. This is particularly evident in complex environments and in less-favored areas. In order to address poverty and hunger, it is critical to redirect and augment resources devoted to agricultural research to the farming and livelihood systems of the poor rural communities. Further, to avail the technological breakthroughs that are now available for commercial use, agricultural research priorities and strategies will have to be revisited and new system-wide approaches need to be developed and adopted.
The NAIP will address the above concerns through a combined effort on changing content and process. Policy and technology options will be checked or tested by the end-user for applicability and for economic, social and environmental sustainability. In applied and adaptive research projects, the end-user of innovations will be involved from the start of programmes and projects to their completion. Both indigenous knowledge and new or frontier technologies will be used to generate targeted products.
The overall objective of NAIP is to facilitate the accelerated and sustainable transformation of Indian agriculture in support of poverty alleviation and income generation through collaborative development and application of agricultural innovations by the public organizations in partnership with farmers groups, the private sector and other stakeholders. The specific objectives are:
a) To build the critical capacity of the ICAR as a catalyzing agent for management of change of the Indian NARS (component 1).
b) To promote production to consumption systems research in priority areas/themes to enhance productivity, nutrition, profitability, income and employment (component 2).
c) To improve livelihood security of rural people living in selected disadvantaged regions through innovation systems led by technology and encompassing the wider process of social and economic change covering all stakeholders (component 3).
d) To build capacity and undertake basic and strategic research in strategic areas to meet technology development challenges in the immediate and predictable future (component 4).
NAIP is planned for 6 years to allow time for piloting, learning and then scaling up wherever possible.
1.4 NAIP Institutional Development Priorities
The NAIP is aware of the growing importance of access to information in the global competitive economy. Competitiveness and access to information will be of particular relevance to poor population groups if they are not to be further marginalized. The amount of new information and the increasingly rapid outdating of existing knowledge may pose a threat to traditional and indigenous knowledge. Useful traditional knowledge must therefore be validated, documented and disseminated. The NAIP may support efforts to do this wherever they are related to proper information systems and the utilization of such knowledge. Thus, the NAIP shall strive for a better balance between utilization of existing or indigenous knowledge, creation of new knowledge and adequate documentation, validation, dissemination and utilization of knowledge.
India’s agricultural sector is composed of a large number of small individual entrepreneurs. Farmers depend increasingly on other entrepreneurs for services, inputs, implements, marketing and processing. The capacity of these various entities to adjust to rapid change in the political, institutional and economic environments, and mutual collaboration among them, are decisive for the success of agricultural development. Capacity building and strengthening of partnerships will be taken up in all components of the NAIP. Capacity building refers to individual farmers, farmers’ groups, organizations, and agrarian institutions and businesses, which support them. Partnerships include public sector institutions, farmers’ organizations, self-help groups, NGOs and the private sector. The NAIP is well aware that women farmers whose number and contributions are significant in Indian agriculture have to be involved particularly. Participatory technology development and participatory learning and action shall be essential ingredients in capacity building and project management.
With the increasing importance of market context in Indian agriculture, enhancing business skills of agricultural research institutions assume significance. There is a need to develop suitable business development units as models for promoting business planning, and development and commercialization of technologies.
The NAIP R&D priorities are in agreement with the broad objectives of the project which have been set to match also the national and sectoral priorities. However, the NAIP will encourage creative local level needs and priority identification on the basis of systematic need assessments under the overall broad priorities set for the NAIP. In fact the actual sub-projects supported by NAIP may integrate in a systems mode the various priority areas to meet local level requirements.
The NAIP therefore, will not predefine the specific research projects that it wishes to pursue in the components 2, 3 and 4 but will allow the agenda to evolve from the bottom through the competitive process that will guide the resource allocation. The thrust areas discussed below are merely indicative of what the NAIP sub-projects may address. These areas are the national and sectoral level priorities as reflected in the National Agricultural Policy and the Tenth Five-Year Plan of India (2002-07), including its Mid-Term Appraisal Report, and several consultations held with a wide array of stakeholders as a part of project concept note preparation. Some specific guiding examples on possible sub-projects for the Components 2 and 4 have been provided in subsequent chapters.
Agricultural Diversification For making Indian agriculture profitable, sustainable and competitive, agricultural diversification will have to be intensively promoted. Attention towards precision farming, small farm mechanization, resource conservation technologies, use of sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, fertigation, protective cultivation of flowers and vegetables, and adoption of high-value and low-volume crops is expected to be rewarding. This warrants a multi-faceted approach with a greater appreciation of the various site-specific needs and compulsions of the farming systems, agro-climatic conditions, endowments of land and water resources, rural infrastructure, and the market demand both within the country and outside. Facilitating service and support systems covering planting materials, credit, extension, marketing, prices, etc. are critical for successful diversification.
With emphasis on much-needed diversification in agriculture, the availability of quality seed, particularly in case of oilseeds, pulses, horticultural crops and fisheries, becomes a crucial component of agriculture-led growth and development. This would require efficient field operations/hatchery management, facilitating and improving processing, marketing, quality assurance and strengthening of infrastructure for rapid multiplication of disease-free planting material.
On-farm experimentation would be given high priority for testing and disseminating technologies suitable for increasing food, feed, fodder and fuel (rural energy) security, and for improving the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers. Needless to mention that empowering of the small and marginal farmers and rural women through participatory approaches is critical to provide them adequate strength to face sudden calamities and farming failures.
Livestock and Fisheries Production The livestock and fisheries sectors are emerging as important “sunrise sectors” in the country. Since most livestock in India is owned by small and marginal farmers and landless people in rural areas especially in dryland areas, the sector’s rapid growth benefits the poorer households. Further, the role of women in these sectors is substantial. Focused attention to genetic upgradation, nutrition, management, disease surveillance and control, production of feeds, diagnostic kits and vaccines, post-harvest handling and processing and marketing of livestock and aquaculture produce, by-produce and wastes will be certainly rewarding. Work on monitoring and control of trans-boundary livestock diseases has important implications for human health, international trade and compliance with importing country requirements.
Genetic Resources and Bio-prospecting Sustained growth in agricultural productivity will depend upon continued improvements in germplasm (plants, animals including fish and microbes) and improved nutritional value of staple foods, besides crop and livestock disease and pest control. The traits required include improved yield potential, increasing yield stability through resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and enhancing adaptation to high stress conditions like drought, water logging and salinity. Genetic resources (plant, animal and microbial) constitute one of the most important and invaluable natural resources and their effective documentation and utilization are an important endeavor. The importance of undertaking such an activity with the help of local communities, NGOs, etc. cannot be overemphasized. Identification of resistance genes in wild relatives, molecular marker mapping and marker-assisted transfer to the elite germplasm may be pursued. Bio-prospecting will have to lay the foundation for effective mining and targeted the transfer of genes for specific traits. The vast microbial gene pool has to be explored and utilized for crop and animal improvement. Such efforts are not only capital-and knowledge-intensive, but also warrant strong public-public and public-private partnerships. Interactions between research institutes and the industry need to be strengthened for realizing the full potential of frontier sciences.
Natural Resource Management Enhancing farmers’ capacities to use and conserve natural resources (agro-biodiversity, land and water management) and indigeous knowledge in an efficient and sustainable manner is an important issue in Indian agriculture. This includes enhancement of crop and livestock including fishery productivity in intensified and more sustainable farming systems. Farmer participation is decisive for this approach.
In view of the water scarcity and the growing competition for water for agricultural, household and industrial use, efficient and sustainable management of water resources, with a focus at the watershed and local level is another important topic. Through its consortia the NAIP will aim to combine short- and possibly long-term economic benefits (farmers’ interests) with longer-term environmental concerns (public interest) and favorable institutional development.
Soil health has been affected adversely owing to depletion of organic carbon, imbalanced use of nutrients, micro-nutrient deficiency, etc. The proper understanding of this issue and addressing the issue through appropriate interventions by following an IPNM approach assumes significance.
Precision agriculture may be explored to tackle the inadequate replenishment of the soil with nutrients in very intensive cropping systems like rice-wheat, which have led to reduction in factor productivity, water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency, and as a whole, input use efficiency.
Global warming is becoming an important issue for sustainable agriculture. Understanding its effects and developing adaptation and mitigation strategies should receive attention. Component 4 address this issue.
There is an increasing appreciation about the quality of food as well as the extent to which the environment is affected by excessive and indiscriminate application of chemicals. Therefore, organic farming is attracting greater attention worldwide. The various factors for successful adoption of organic agriculture in selected areas where they have competitive advantage may be analyzed, and research for generating technologies that support modern organic farming may be strengthened. Such research may not only contribute to enhanced nutritional and environmental security but also improve export prospects in the country.
Integrated Pest Management Pesticides are often not accessible to small-scale farmers and skill and knowledge in the sound use of pesticides is lacking. Pesticide misuse is therefore a significant health and economic risk to producers, consumers and the environment. The evolution of new races, pathotypes, strains and biotypes of the pathogens and insect-pests is a continuous process. In this context, to manage such biotic stresses, efficient and effective integrated approaches are required. Consortia within the NAIP may take up the elaboration and validation of IPM policies and practices for the minimal ecologically tolerable and economically necessary use of pesticides.
Value Addition and Post-Harvest Processing An area of immense importance to enhance the global competitiveness of Indian agriculture is value addition and post-harvest processing. At present, only 7% of the output of the agricultural sector is value added and 2% of the volume of perishables is processed. In view of the small and scattered farm holdings and the majority of farmers being resource-poor, strengthening of co-operatives, self-help groups, and contract farming assume significance. The need for reduction in post-harvest losses is being increasingly important. This also concerns processing technologies to follow changing consumption patterns. Post-harvest losses compromise food security and the market presence of small-scale farmers by disrupting supply or reducing the quality of products. Local storage and small-scale processing capacity has an impact on development similar to that of the construction of other rural infrastructure. In Component 2, the NAIP will address the whole PCS, improving knowledge on post-harvest losses and tackling the most critical elements in the system, including quality assurance mechanisms to meet domestic needs and international trade requirements. In fact, the scope extends to issues in the food chain of human beings and animals. In view of the complexity of changes in post-harvest and processing practices, attention may also be given to the development and introduction of promising storage and processing technologies for small farmers.
Research on Policy Analysis and Market Intelligence
In the scenario of greater importance of markets in agriculture and the integration of the national markets, and the world market, it has become clear that research to develop appropriate policies to understand these fast changing global and national imperatives will be needed.
1.6 NAIP Components
NOTE: This is the first time the NAIP “Components” are specifically laid out but there have been several references to the components earlier in the text above. This is why it may be desirable to already refer to the NAIP components where the objectives are laid out (page 4). Otherwise the para below should come much earlier.
The NAIP comprises four components: (1) ICAR as the Catalyzing Agent for Management of Change in the Indian NARS; (2) Research on Production to Consumption Systems; (3) Research on Sustainable Rural Livelihood Security (SRLS); and (4) Basic and Strategic Research in the Frontier Areas of Agricultural Sciences (BSR).
Component 1: ICAR as the Catalyzing Agent for the Management of Change in the Indian NARS
In the context of the emerging Indian agricultural research system, the limited ability of partners to interact and transact with each other was identified as a key constraint to streamlining the generation and use of new knowledge. This led to the choice of the “consortium” (i.e. an often public/private partnership of service providers that collaboratively addresses production systems constraints) as the principal modality for project implementation in components 2, 3, and 4. In support of these other NAIP components, Component 1 will allow the ICAR and the SAUs to strengthen their role as the catalyzing agents of the system by strengthening their information, communication and dissemination capacity, business planning and development knowledge, skills in using new learning and capacity building models, policy analysis, visioning, market intelligence analysis, and ability to remodel financial and procurement systems suitable to a changing and performing organization.
By making competitive grants available for large projects (from Rs. 12 to 45 crores for each consortium) strong incentives are created to build partnerships and share knowledge and information6. An additional reason for the competitive mode is that it allows successful and innovative models to arise from the bottom, rather than imposing a design from the top. The consortium mode will then be applied to main development challenges that the Indian agricultural research system faces.
PCSs comprise the entire set of actors, materials, activities, services, and institutions involved in growing and harvesting a particular commodity, transforming it into higher value product and marketing the final product. The system includes the technologies used to grow and process the material, as well as the social, institutional and economic environment in which these processes operate. The definition and conceptual details of PCSs are given in Appendix 1.
The emphasis on PCSs is a simple reflection of the fact that agricultural growth in India is increasingly market driven and that the challenge to raise income and welfare to the agricultural community has to be met in a market context. The PCS implies a higher priority to among others, post-harvest processing, quality management and safety issues. The importance of the market also implies a shift in attention to products with large market and income growth potential.
The emphasis in Component 3 on rural livelihood improvement reflects that several million people in the country remain largely by-passed by the green revolution and modern agricultural practices. A large proportion of these people and of the rural poor live in less favored, marginal or more complex environments. Long-term social, political and environmental stability requires that attention be given to these areas. The relevance of less endowed areas to decentralized development, to resource conservation, to water harnessing and bio-diversity management is being increasingly recognized.
In component 3, emphasis will be given to improving the sustainability of the farming systems and natural resource management in less favorable environments. Particular attention will be given to rain-fed, hill and mountain, coastal and island eco-regions.
To sustain innovation for accelerated development, investments must also be made in basic and strategic research in frontier areas of agricultural sciences, in order to generate new knowledge and new findings that can later on be turned into the next generation of innovations. Recent research shows that the capacity of the Indian agricultural research system to produce high quality science was greater in the past than at present. Especially for a large country such as India it is important to be at, and contribute to the scientific frontier. Component 4 therefore, addresses the widening knowledge gap that might appear in the absence of high quality basic and strategic research.
6 The competitive grants program (CGP) model already existed in the ICAR in the form of AP Cess Fund projects and more recently under NATP. The CGP of NATP really provided the rationale and experience for this important feature of NAIP.