- The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body.
- Formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research,
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s headquarters is in New Delhi.
- Established in 1929
- The Council is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country
- It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture.
- The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.
- It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
- The ICAR has played a pioneering role in ushering Green Revolution and subsequent developments in agriculture in India through its research and technology development that has enabled the country to increase the production of foodgrains by 5.6 times, horticultural crops by 10.5 times, fish by 16.8 times, milk by 10.4 times and eggs by 52.9 times since 1950-51 to 2017-18
- The committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Yashpal Committee, 2009) has recommended setting up of a constitutional body – the National Commission for Higher Education and Research – which would be a unified supreme body to regulate all branches of higher education including agricultural education.
- Presently, regulation of agricultural education is the mandate of ICAR, Veterinary Council of India (Veterinary sub-discipline) and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (Forestry sub-discipline).
- Initiation of the first All-India Co-ordinated Research Project on Maize in 1957
- Status of Deemed University accorded to IARI in 1958
- Establishment of the first State Agricultural University on land grant pattern at Pantnagar in 1960
- Placement of different agricultural research institutes under the purview of ICAR in 1966
- Creation of Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) in the Ministry of Agriculture in 1973
- Opening of first Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Puducherry (Pondicherry) in 1974
- Establishment of Agricultural Research Service and Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board in 1975
- Launching of Lab-to-Land Programme and the National Agricultural Research Project (NARP) in 1979
- Initiation of Institution-Village Linkage Programme (IVLP) in 1995
- Establishment of National Gene Bank at New Delhi in 1996
- The ICAR was bestowed with the King Baudouin Award in 1989 for its valuable contribution in ushering in the Green Revolution. Again awarded King Baudouin Award in 2004 for research and development efforts made under partnership in Rice Wheat Consortium.
- Launching of National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) in 1998 and National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) in 2005
Some key initiatives of ICAR:
- Farmers Innovation Fund: ICAR is all set to start a system to scientifically validate, scale-up and propagate the innovations of progressive farmers.
- The system intends to link farmers and farming with science and encourage farmers to continue their innovations.
- Organic Farming: ICAR has developed 45 different organic farming models suitable for different agro-climatic regions and has validated 51 integrated farming systems to help increase farm income.
- Nano fertilisers and Nano pesticides: ICAR is developing nano fertilizers and nano pesticides to promote organic farming and to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers
- Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (Arya): A programme named Arya is also being implemented to improve rural bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture.
- Farmers’ Science Congress: It was inaugurated in 2020 for the first time in the 107 years of history of the Indian Science Congress highlighting the importance of farmer’s innovations and their scientific validity.
- To ensure that the Pusa Institute (IARI) gets upgraded from a national institute to an institute of international status.
- There is a need to reduce dependence on imports, increase production of healthy foods and also increase production of pulses and oilseeds.
- Palm oil production needs to be increased by research and increased cultivation and development of new varieties of oilseeds needs to be emphasised.
- The near self-sufficiency achieved in pulses production needs to be replicated for oilseeds production also so that import of edible oils is reduced.