True Republic: Good Afternoon Sir, could you please tell us about yourself?
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: I was born in a small village Utukur in Nellore district in a farmer’s family, where I completed my primary education, later pursued my college education in Dawaleshwaram, Rajamundry, Masters’ Degree in Agriculture (Genetics & Plant Breeding) from Agricultural College, Bapatla. I worked in various capacities in ANGRAU viz., Director (Seeds), Director (AP Rice Research Institute), Special Officer (Seeds), Associate Director of Research (HQrs) and in ICAR (19 years) in many capacities including Director of “Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research” (IIOR) at Hyderabad.
True Republic: You have added another feather in your cap by being appointed as the Vice Chancellor of ANGRAU.
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: Honourable CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has recognised my sincere work and provided me this wonderful opportunity for which I am highly grateful to him. Will work at the best of my capacity in trying meeting the CM’s expectations.
True Republic: How well do you think the Government is performing in meeting farmers’ needs?
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: The Government is doing a tremendous work in Agricultural sector, be it Raithu Bharosa scheme that provides financial aid to farmer or free bores being dug to farmers. On top of that, Raithu Bharosa Centres (Raithu Bharosa Kendralu) are being established which will be a pivotal step towards upliftment of farmers in AP. This programme quite reflects Gandhiji’s ideology of Grama Swaraj: administration at the village level. The farmers need not go elsewhere when their needs are met at their village level.
True Republic: The University has good reputation but it dropped in nation wide rankings. Any reasons behind it?
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: AGNRAU is ranked at 14 in the country which might appear sub-par to the common man when in reality the University is equipped with the latest technology, our students have excelled in research and development by producing many thesis papers and new crop varieties. After introspection, it appears there has been lack of attention previously. After taking charge, I decided to change this situation. I met with the Honourable Chief Minister after taking charge, he is quite aware of the pre-existing situation and asked me to do whatever it takes to change this situation. Anyone in my position would be quite happy with such support. My mission here is to not stop till we reach the no 1 position in the country.
I visited the colleges under our University, taking note what needs to be done and instructed them to make changes in that direction. Our students are being provided online classes with the best scientists across the country. This would help them in honing their skills. Through this better research, thesis writing will emerge and also by having understanding with various institutions across the nation, our market would further expand.
True Republic: Apart from imparting education, what can the farmers expect from the University?
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: Our job here is to act as a bridge between the Government and the farmers. Rendering the service of the Government to the farmers and taking up their needs with the Government. The Raithu Bharosa Centre if developed as planned will yield great result in turning farmers into kings. Seeds are procured and distributed to the farmers through the RBK, the agriculture viable land is measured and each RBK will serve the area it comes under. Farmers will be taught to produce their own seed at the village level. Until now the processing of seed is done elsewhere due to this the price of seed is higher owing to the logistic expense. Plans are underway to establish seed processing units which will reduce the price of seed.
Spraying of fertilisers is another expense borne by the farmers. To reduce the cost, drone technology is being studied where the price per acre would decrease noticeably and unemployed youth could become self employed by purchasing a drone at the village level.
Automation in crop picking is also being researched. This would reduce the labour expense to the farmers. We already have technology which is not quite efficient, so we are further researching for a better alternative
Constant monitoring of the RBKs in association with the Government is our priority.
True Republic: Tribal families were distributed 3.12 lakh acres of forest land. What are the Government’s plans in promoting agriculture there?
Dr.Vishnuvardhan Reddy: The University will conduct extensive research on the lands under the AP Govt’s undertaking. Technology across the globe will be introduced in making agriculture easier and profitable
True Republic: Thank you sir for your valuable time.
(excerpts from the interview with Dr. A.Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Vice Chancellor, ANGRAU by Deeksha Prasad ,Editor South India.)