The wave of economic liberalization across the world have thrown open a host of issues like Intellectual property Rights (IPR) and patenting system which have direct implications on the agricultural research endeavours. Environmental concerns with focus on ecological balance, pollution control, global warming, conservation of genetic heritage etc.. have become important items. Indian agriculture in general and West Bengal agricultural research in particular need to respond to such emerging scenario.
The global scenario has also changed with time and with new discoveries in science and technology. Application of the state-of-the-art science and technology to agricultural research in an open market system is the latest direction that has been adopted. Environmental concerns are becoming stronger each day. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Patent systems have shaken the traditional approaches of developing and underdeveloped nations. Similarly, globalisation of open market economy has thrown challenges to all enterprising nations. Gradually, international standards for biological safety, ecosystems, international trades, protection of environment, conservation of genetic heritage etc. are being developed and internationally implemented. Global warming and pollution are also immensely important issues. All these features are applicable to India Agriculture and to the agricultural situation in West Bengal.
India has embarked upon the second green revolution through precision agriculture to meet the challenges of food and livelihood security requirements. A new beginning has been made with new thrusts in agricultural research. In this venture, ICAR remains the lead institution at national level, while BCKV is the pathfinder institution in West Bengal.
In West Bengal, the socio-economic scenario has been changing and shall continue to alter. As literacy percentage increased, so has there been a corresponding increase in a better understanding of the social and economic system all around. Land reforms in West Bengal is already a national model. There are signs of long term effects on the agricultural scenario as a consequence.
Parallel to socio-economic changes there have been alterations in the cropping intensity and cropping system. The present cropping intensity of about 1.65 is likely to increase in the near future and it is necessary to bring it ultimately to a level of about 3 or so. As shown above, the cropping system started changing on and from the III Plan Period with perceptible rapidity. These changes appear to be basically and generally determined by economic gains to individual farmers.
The intensification and diversification of agricultural operations have led to unprecedented pressure on natural resources. The discovery of arsenic contamination in under ground water is an example. This contamination has been found to enter into the biogeochemical cycle of the agro-ecosystem. Arsenic goes into the food chain and contaminates the produce. Similarly, the increased use of agri-chemicals, including pesticides, also find their way into the food web contaminating the produce. The race for economic gains in the form of purchasing power increasingly induces the unscrupulous to play mischief with the agricultural system.
Contamination and degradation of environment have become a global concern to which the State of West Bengal can not remain oblivious. BCKV is already working on these aspects and contemplates to intensify efforts to conform to the National and Global requirements.