Guntur: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Monday unveiled the foundation stone for an agriculture university at Lam Farm near here in Andhra Pradesh.
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 N. 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.
Following the formation of Telangana state, the name was changed to Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University.
Speaking at the foundation stone 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.
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.
Chandrababu Naidu said since 65 percent of the state’s population was dependent on agriculture, his government was giving top priority to the sector.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said that with the establishment of the agricultural university, the Centre had taken another step to fulfil the commitments made to Andhra Pradesh.
He promised that the Centre will extend all help to the state.
Union ministers Ashok Gajapati Raju, Y.S. Chowdary, several state ministers and public representatives were also present.
(Inputs from IANS)