Highest priority is being accorded to the agricultural sector in Andhra Pradesh and all efforts will be made to make farming remunerative. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh laid the foundation stone for an agriculture university at Lam Farm in Guntur. The university, which is coming up on 500 acres at a cost of Rs 1,505 crore, is one of the institutes of higher learning and research promised by the Centre to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu urged the Union Agriculture Minister to accord it the status of a central university and make available the requisite funds and facilities.

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to name it Acharya N. Ranga Agricultural University. The Agriculture University of the Undivided State in Hyderabad was known by the same name.

Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony, Radha Mohan Singh said as Andhra Pradesh was a major agricultural state, it would get due importance. He said agricultural universities would have to play a greater role in undertaking research and extension to the fields as technology would play a great role.

The Minister also stressed that there was need to set up a premier agri-education and research institutions in Andhra Pradesh as the residuary state is deprived of several academic and research institutions after bifurcation.

“We expect that with establishment of this university at Lam, Guntur, the agricultural growth in the region will receive the much needed impetus and will usher in a new era of robust agriculture and a knowledge empowered prosperous farming community,” he added.

While noting that there were still large productivity gaps in the potential and the realised farm output, he called for developing new technologies to bridge the gap. He said that since agriculture was the primary source of living for 70 percent of the population, technological progress in agriculture was crucial for the overall economic development of the country. He said research institutions and agricultural universities enabled the country to achieve self-reliance in food security. The minister also said the country has 73 agricultural universities and 101 ICAR research institutions were currently serving the farming community.

Giving a boost to aquaculture sector in the State, the Centre has sanctioned a Brooder Multiplication Centre for L. Vannanair shrimp for Andhra Pradesh, a Central Institute for Brackish-water Aquaculture (CIBA) regional office in Vijayawada and a Fishery Brood Bank. This was announced by the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister. The three institutes will boost the prospects of aquaculture along the coastal region of the State, enabling it to generate an annual income of Rs. 24,000 crore.

Recalling that the Centre had sought to set up agriculture and related institutions in four states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan, Singh appreciated that AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had responded with utmost speed, while the proposals in other three states have not made substantial progress.

On the occasion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government is setting up different central institutions like IIT, IIIT, IISER in different districts of AP with a view to decentralising development.

Noting that the Centre released funds for the backward districts of the state, the minister said it is unfortunate that opposition parties accuse the NDA government of not doing much for Andhra Pradesh.

Appreciating the Centre’s help to new Andhra Pradesh on various counts after it faced a crisis following state bifurcation, the CM urged that the agriculture varsity near Guntur be given the status of central university.

CM Naidu said since 65 percent of the state’s population was dependent on agriculture, his government was giving top priority to the sector. He said the State Government had released Rs 23,000 crore under a loan waiver scheme in the State and it had come as a great relief to the farmers.

Union ministers Ashok Gajapati Raju, Y.S. Chowdary, several state ministers and public representatives were also present.

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