Agriculture Project Current Affairs - 2020

Global Potato Conclave to be held in Gujarat

The Global Potato Conclave is to be held between January 28 and January 31, 2020. PM Modi is to attend the conclave. PM Modi is to address the conclave.

Highlights

The conclave will hold live demonstrations of potato varieties, farm equipment, management practices. The conclave will include researchers from more than 30 countries and is to be conducted under 10 themes. It will cover next generation breeding practices, efficient management practices of potato cultivation, management strategies of potato diseases and pests. The themes of the conclave are as follows

  • Potato Biotechnology and Omics
  • Germplasm Management and Next Generation Breeding
  • AI and ICT in Potato R&D.
  • Potato Pest Management
  • Potato Disease Management
  • Technology transfer, social issues and policies
  • Potato Value Chain management
  • Advances in Seed Technology
  • Climate change and crop management
  • Post-harvest management and value addition.

Significance

After rice and wheat, potato is the third most important food crop in the world. The growth of potato has increased by 40% between 1961 and 2016. However, the area under potato production has decreased from 22.14 million hectares to 19.24 million hectares.

National Agricultural Export Authority, APEDA launched 186 product testing laboratories

On January 20, 2020, the APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority) has added 135 laboratories to the existing 51 laboratories. With this initiative, the total number of agricultural product testing laboratories in the country has increased to 186.

Highlights

The new laboratories are being installed in states with high agricultural potential such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka. In order to strengthen the network, a new policy has been adopted by APEDA. According to the policy, NABL (National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratories are to be added to the APEDA network.

NABL

The NABL provides the procedure for integrated assessment and requirements for testing laboratories set up in the country. It works under Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Both NABL and DPIIT operate under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Agricultural sector in India

Agricultural sector today employs more than 60% of the population. However, it accounts to only 17% of India’s GDP, which is 2.6 trillion USD. India has achieved self sufficiency in food grain production. India is one of the highest-ranking countries in terms of rice, dairy, cotton, fruits, meat, vegetables and seafood. However, due to lack of storage infrastructure, 40% of the produce are lost. The losses alone account to 13 billion USD annually. The export capacity of India can be increased if these losses are minimized.