The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar is keeping a check on all the activities of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in helping farmers fight the issues coming their way because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown.
While three ICAR institutes are busy testing on humans, ICAR has initiated various steps to support farmers in this time and has also given advisories to crores of farmers across India. Tomar directed all Agricultural Universities to conduct online classes.
On the orders of the Agriculture Minister, over 5.48 crore farmers have already been reached via the problems of 1,126 advisories across the states by Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) via mKisan portal.
Research institutes used ICT tools including Expert Systems and Mobile Apps, and given advisories on the right crop management technologies in wheat, rice, maize, pulses, millets, oilseeds, sugarcane, fibre crops, to name a few.
Fisheries Research Institutes under ICAR prepared information, education and communication (IEC) materials in fisheries production for dissemination to various stakeholders engaged in fisheries. Dairy, Livestock, and Poultry research institutes of ICAR are creating awareness regarding feeding, breeding and health care of animals as well as minimum processing of milk, eggs, and chicken for boosting immunity to fight coronavirus.
On the advice of Shri Tomar, the ICAR issued an advisory to all Vice-chancellors of Agricultural Universities for taking classes through online mode and most of them are doing so using online tools. ICAR has notified three of its Research Institutes; NIHSAD, Bhopal, IVRI, Izatnagar, and NRC on Equines, Hisar for COVID-19 testing in humans.
ICAR institutes and KVKs have prominently disseminated the message for use of Arogya Setu mobile application to fight the COVID 19 pandemic. As a result, 25.04 lakh farmers have been reached of which 2.92 lakh farmers have already downloaded the application for their use.
As directed by Tomar, the ICAR has given its Guest Houses at different places pan-India for setting up quarantine facilities besides providing RT-PCR equipment and operating staff for COVID-19 investigation.