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Shri.Shivaraj Singh Chouhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Rural Development, Govt. of India and the President of Indian Council of Agricultural Research visited ICAR-CIBA, Chennai and its Experimental Station at Muttukadu, Chennai and reviewed the Research and Development programmes during 5-6th July, 2024. The minister has visited the institute’s research labs and experimental facilities at the field station: Feed mill, Shrimp, Mudcrab and Finfish hatcheries, NewGen shrimp production facility, farming facilities and acquainted himself with the ongoing research programmes at CIBA.

Subsequently, the union minister had an interaction meeting with scientists and conveyed his compliments for the good work being undertaken. He emphasized that all our research outputs should focus towards improving the production and income of small and marginal farmers and poor families through societal development initiatives. He is aware of shrimp farming, its contribution (70%) to India’s seafood exports worth Rs. 65000 crores and its number position two next only to Basmati rice in terms of exports worth, he added.

The Minister has articulated that six principles on which the research and development should focus include (i) increasing the farm productivity and shrimp production from 5-6t/ha to 20t/ha; (ii) Reduce the production cost by introducing cost-effective technologies; (iii) Diversification of production systems and farming species; (iv) Risk mitigation and adaptation through institutional measures like crop insurance (v) Price stabilization and increasing the farmer’s income; (vi) Processing and value addition of farmed produces to enhance its market value. He also advocated for agro-forestry and social forestry programmes involving women folk to increase green cover and protect the environment. The minister said that he is aware that the ICAR needs more technical and supporting manpower to improve the efficiency of the institutions and assured that he would take up the matter with the Hon’ble Prime Minister and address this gap.

Dr.Kuldeep K Lal, Director, ICAR-CIBA in his welcome speech expressed his gratitude to the Minister for visiting the institute and guidance to scientists in fulfilling the expectations of the nation. He briefed the minister about the importance of brackishwater aquaculture, the high value shrimps and recent R & D achievements like launch of shrimp crop insurance scheme with CIBA’s technical support, development and popularization of PlanktonPlus and HortiPlus the ‘fish waste to wealth’ products and their promising applications in both aquaculture and agriculture, National Surveillance for Aquatic Diseases, CIBA being designated as the National Referral Laboratory for aquatic diseases etc. All the scientists, officers, staff and scholars attended the visit and explained their activities to the Hon’ble minister.