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FARMER-SCIENTIST INTERACTION MARKS ANNUAL DAY OF SOA’S FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE

Bhubaneswar, March 27: Over 120 farmers interacted with agricultural scientists on farming and other related issues at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS), faculty of agricultural sciences of SOA Deemed to be University, as the institution celebrated its annual day, “Arnna-2019”, on Wednesday.

The farmers from villages in the neighbourhood of the capital city had a fruitful discussion with the experts recounting the challenges they faced and sought remedies for the same.

Addressing a meeting which was subsequently organised to mark the day, Dr. Sourav Garg, state’s Principal Secretary in the department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, said farmers needed better information on a number of areas including pest attacks, fertilizer, weather conditions and availability of water.

The focus should be on reduction of risk and increased return to make agriculture attractive, Dr. Garg, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said.

“We need to have a balance between risk and returns. We want to even out the risk so that there can be stability,” he said.

Prof. D.P.Ray, Principal Advisor to the SOA President and former Vice-Chancellor of OUAT, who was the guest of honour, said the institution’s mission was to bring qualitative change in farming and transfer of technology to benefit the farmers.

The institution had post-graduate programmes in nine disciplines and more departments were on the anvil. “We are taking up research activities in several areas so as to help farmers to increase their productivity,” he said.

Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda, SOA’s Dean (Research and Development) and presently the acting Vice-Chancellor, presided.

Describing SOA as a growing university, Prof. Nanda said it had been placed 24th in the university category and 38th among institutions in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in 2018 with 1192 institutions from all over the country participating in the ranking.

Prof. Premananda Mohapatra, Dean of Post-Graduate studies at IAS, said the institution launched in 2013-14 with 102 students, had a student strength of over one thousand today who pursued under-graduate and post-graduate courses. Fortyeight of the students who had passed out of the institution had qualified to be Junior Research Fellows under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), he said.

Prof. Bijay Kumar Sahoo, Dean of IAS and Dr. Prafulla Kumar Das, Associate Dean, also spoke. Prizes were given to students who had excelled in academics, sports and cultural activities.

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