Speaking at a function here on Friday, the President said agriculture universities have a huge stake in the success of the farm sector as well as welfare of the common man.

"The yardstick of their performance is the quality of graduates being produced. We require committed, capable and hard working professionals from our agricultural institutions to spearhead the next farm revolution," he said at Golden Jubilee Convocation ceremony of Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwavidyalaya here.

Asserting that agriculture is a sector crucial on many counts, President Mukherjee said, it determines the performance of our economy, ensures food availability and nutritional security, creates rural employment and boosts grassroot income.

"A great challenge before our nation is to end the curse of poverty and deprivation. Poverty has no religion, hunger no creed and despair no geography. Mere poverty alleviation is not enough. It is poverty elimination that can truly herald India's arrival in the comity of advanced nations,” the President said.

"Studies have inferred that a one percentage growth in agriculture is two to three times more effective in fighting poverty than a one percentage growth in non-farm sectors," he added.

President Mukherjee said development and management of skilled human resource is vital for realizing the potential of the agricultural sector.

He also suggested improvement in country's educational system to ensure that Indian universities find their place among world's best institutions.

"India has been a front runner in higher learning from ancient times. Agriculture was taught at the world-renowned universities of Takshashila and Nalanda, President Mukherjee said.

"Yet over the years, we have not been able to maintain our position. Global recognition eludes our agricultural universities today. It is a reflection of our overall higher education system, which cannot boast of a single Indian institution in the top 200 universities in the world," he added while stressing on "academic excellence".

(Agencies)

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