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Scientific Aid in Agriculture

Nature volume 130, page 444 (17 September 1932) | Download Citation



THE story of the founding at Indore, in Central India, of an Institute of Plant Industry, its unique territorial associations and duties, the work in hand, and its bold, comprehensive policy of research has become widely known through the writings of its first director, Mr. Albert Howard. These have now been extended by articles in the Empire Cotton Growing Review, vol. 9, Nos. 2 and 3, 1932, entitled “The Improvement of Cotton Production”. Plans are explained for dealing with specific cotton problems in Central India, but the articles also contain an important treatment of the general question of policy in agricultural research. During the past twelve months enforced economies have made responsible bodies all over the world scrutinise closely their disbursements on agricultural research. Some have inclined to grasp an excuse for ending scientific work with which they never sympathised, but the more common and the reasonable reaction has been to ask whether all the work in progress is well conceived and likely to benefit industry. Howard, speaking of the present position—a superabundance of raw cotton and low prices—asks if science can help the cotton industry under such conditions, and he bluntly adds that if it cannot “the days of agricultural research are indeed numbered”.

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