New Delhi. : A 2-Day Virtual Orientation Workshop on R&D Exports was inaugurated by Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt of India, Dr Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, O/o PSA in the presence of Dr A Sakthivel, President, FIEO, Mr Khalid Khan, Vice President FIEO and Dr Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO, FIEO and 35 scientists from ICAR Labs from all across the country. The speakers from NABL, APEDA, EXIM Bank and NASSCOM also addressed the participants. The objective of the workshop is to prepare our labs to get Contract business, R&D projects of other countries and find global partners. This program is also in line with the Government’s interest to promote export of Research and Development (R & D) services from the country.
Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to Govt of India stressed on the need to focus on quality of agricultural products as this was still the biggest challenge agricultural exporters face in our country. He conveyed that quality, regulation and market analysis are of vital importance in exports of agriculture, horticulture and fisheries. Referring to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he said that the report was wake up call for agriculture industry. The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. He added that increased global temperatures, rising sea levels, etc. are indicators of climate change and there should be added focus to study these in order to save from the danger climate change is posing to agriculture. He emphasized that ICAR should take the lead and in collaboration with universities and other stakeholders, prepare the report on what is needed to be done in order to sustain in each of our Agro climatic zones.
He further added that the increased humidity with high temperatures is very dangerous for agriculture as it would pose difficulty for humans to work in such heated environment. He mentioned that the global trade in R&D services reached to USD 339 bn in 2020 out of which exports was USD 167 bn. He added that the USA and Germany are consistently major exporters of R&D services accounting for total of 42% in global exports of R&D services. He further informed that India has got enormous capability in R&D services and India is consistently making efforts to curb the challenge of climate change. He said that there is need to look into agriculture in classical way along with the added focus on becoming IT Agri Nation by analysing the data of climate change, plant growth, exports, etc. He added that ICAR has to become 21st century digitally driven data analytics as well as Agri research society. Further, awareness has to be made about the opportunities and challenges in agriculture related R&D services exports from India.
President FIEO reiterated that investment in Research & Development is very important for the economic growth of our country. Promotion and impact of growth in the R&D services sector leads to growth in employment, innovation, quality enhancement, productivity and exports. India needs to scale up investment in R&D which presently is 0.7% of our GDP which is much below the expenditure made towards R&D by many countries like the US (2.8% of GDP), China (2.1%), Israel (4.3%), Korea (4.2%). Dr Sakthivel appreciated the Government’s decision to double the investment in the R&D sector to around 2% of GDP which is definitely much needed. He said that this will help the R&D services sector to grow and also increase its exports to meet the US$ 6 Bn target set by the Government. He further said that in order to promote the export of R&D services in agriculture sector a concerted effort and marketing needs to be done by the government towards India brand building for the R&D services in agriculture sector. The Government will also need to incentivize R&D services exports from Agri sector to provide a level playing field to the Indian industry, to help them stay competitive in the international market, to encourage more players to take to R&D services exports. Hand holding of the Farmers Producing Organisations (FPOs), Research institutions and industries those in the R&D services but are not exporting, needs to undertaken towards their internationalization. FIEO will be happy to take the required initiative in this regard.