Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural
 Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian
Council of Agricultural Research [ICAR],
Dr. Anand Kumar Singh, Deputy Director General, Horticultural Sciences,
Shri Devendra Kumar Singh, Agricultural Production
Commissioner, Govt. of India,
Dr. Archana Mukherjee, Director, ICAR, Central Tuber Crops
 Research Institute [CTCRI],
Dr. V. Ravi, Head, Division of Crop Production, ICAR-CTCRI,
Dear Scientist, Researchers and Staff,
Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,
Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.
It gives me great joy to address you at the 56th Foundation Day celebrations of the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute [CTCRI] of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research [ICAR] at Thiruvananthapuram. 
Let me at the outset, congratulate the people who worked behind the setting up of the Farmer Felicitation Centre, and Solar Roof Top Project which have been inaugurated and those behind the publication, ICAR-CTCRI: A look at its Journey.   I also congratulate all the winners of the Best Employee Awards of 2016 and 2017. 
I must also admit that as a person hailing from the farming community, I am excited to know about the contributions of the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute [CTCRI] towards the nation's wealth and inclusive growth. As we all know, since its inception in 1963, this Research Institute has been making sincere efforts to integrate root and tuber crops as a component of sustainable agriculture for food and nutrition, thereby marking an improvement in the livelihood of our rural population. 
We all agree that India's soul rests in its villages where Agriculture is not just an occupation, but the strongest tool for human survival.  Though we are in the technology-driven 21st century, we are still disturbed by malnutrition and poverty, which can be addressed only by strengthening our food security. And, the key to food security is in strengthening the primary sector. 
Today, research plays a key role in strengthening our agriculture. It is a matter of pride that the findings of this Institute have helped in the genetic improvement of crops and in the release of 67 varieties in tuber crops. I am happy that the basic, strategic and applied research done by this Institute on edible tropical tuber crops like, cassava, sweet potato, various types of Yam,  arrowroot etc., have helped these crops to gain visibility as ‘future smart crops’, thereby helping the cultivators, too. That such concerted research has led to the development of improved production and processing technologies in tuber crops also points to the success of this Institute. 
As we know, the green revolution which was the great renaissance of Indian agriculture, had laid the solid foundation for future miracles in agriculture. Today, we are the world's largest producer of milk, pulses and jute and the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruits and cotton. We are also one of the leading producers of spices, fish, poultry, livestock and plantation crops. At the same time, we are reeling under the pressures of reducing resources, climate change, emergence of new pests and diseases etc.  It is here that Research could offer significant solutions, which the farmers can bank upon. 
We also need to look at whether we are effectively utilizing our cultivable area in India, which is one of the world’s largest. There may be many reasons like shortage of water for the under utilization of the land. It is here that the Institute's success in developing diagnostic tools for viral and fungal diseases in tuber crops and in devising inter cropping systems with tuber crops and vegetables, organic farming, drip ferti-gation etc., comes as a solution to such issues.  
In Kerala, we have seen some tuber crops like Tapioca being substituted by crops like Rubber on the basis of their presumed profitability.  We also see people branding agriculture as unprofitable and staying away from cultivation, citing low prices, water scarcity etc.  But our scientists have brought in an optimism by developing crop varieties which consume less water but offer a higher yield. 
Similarly, our farmers need credible technologies for value addition to encourage them to become agri-preneurs. It is gratifying to know that Central Tuber Crops Research Institute has introduced value addition technologies like fried chips, use of starch in making wafers, biofuel, biodegradable plastics, and in pharmaceutical applications etc. I hope such innovations are also commercially marketed so that they reach people as products as well as business ideas.  
I would also request the organizations like ICAR - Central Tuber Crops Research Institute to seriously encourage interaction between researchers and farmers so that the farmers' knowledge and confidence increase.  I hope that the Facilitation centre opened today will serve as a single window delivery system for giving technological inputs and services to the farmers and other stakeholders, thereby quickening the process of dissemination of technology directly to the beneficiaries.  It is laudable that this Institute could transfer 13 technologies to 30 entrepreneurs and Krishi Vigyan Kendras so far.  The adoption of 51 villages as per the Mera Gaav, Mera Gaurav programme of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare also merits mention here.
As one who grew up in a farming family, I must also mention the issue of the distance between the policies, research and the farmer. By distance, I refer to the lack of an ease of access to the benefits of policies or research outputs. We talk loudly about improving the ease of doing business, but how many of us are bothered about improving the ease of access to the benefits for the farmer? I hope, our Facilitation centre will include such services also in future. In fact, I had an opportunity to bring some such issues to the notice of the NITI Aayog and other authorities when Farm insurance was introduced and I am glad that corrective action was immediately taken.
In conclusion, I would remind all scientists and researchers that their success would ultimately be decided by the acceptance received from the ordinary farmer. Every research that you carry out should be directed towards the people who work hard on their farms, small and big. Their contribution may look small, but the fruits of their work actually help to build and keep a nation strong through the food security they offer. 
I wish this Institute and everyone associated with it greater success in gaining the confidence of the scientific as well as farming community in India. 
I compliment the organizers for conducting this function in a befitting manner.
                                                                                              Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal
                                                                                                                  Jai Hind