New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday urged the country's scientific community to focus upon improving the productivity of small and marginal farmers.Addressing the 58th convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Naidu opined that high yielding, disease-resistant and nutrient-rich varieties of crops, are the need of the hour."A country like India cannot depend on imported food security. We need homegrown, protein-rich food to meet the needs of the burgeoning population," he added.The Vice President asked institutions like IARI to utilise technological advancements to improve the life of farmers and ensure that their research reaches the farm. He told them to serve the nation through scientific advancements and innovations in agriculture."The small and marginal farmers are the most vulnerable and their welfare must be accorded the highest priority," he added.Lauding the central government for honouring 12 farmers with the Padma Shri, for their path-breaking innovations in agriculture, Naidu said that such recognitions will boost their morale.Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Kailash Choudhary, among others were present at the event.The Vice President presented degrees and medals to IARI students who completed M.Sc and Ph.D. A total of 243 students were awarded degrees at the convocation.
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