The research initiatives undertaken at the University are focused on increasing the productivity of crops, livestock, and fish currently grown in the state.
This is achieved through
- manipulation of the genetic base responsible both for yield enhancement and overcoming biotic and abiotic stresses
- improvements in the management practices
- control and management of pests, diseases, and parasites
- increasing the efficiency of the biophysical and human resources, and inputs as well, used in production
- the introduction of new crops, animals, and machines
- evaluating and designing policies, programs, institutions, and infrastructure, and analyzing and appraising the value systems
- the gender equation which is conducive or inhibitory to the adoption of technologies and innovations evolved through research.
Recognizing the significance of location-specific research, given the highly heterogeneous biophysical resource base of the state as a consequence of high rainfall coupled with undulating topography, the research agenda is organized into six agroecological zones based on agroecological homogeneity, and conducted in six Regional Research Stations. For each of the given biophysical resource endowments, a system approach incorporating crop, livestock, forestry, and fishery activities in resource use and management so as to maximize income on a sustainable basis, is pursued in research. Commodity research is focused on thrust areas, which have been identified as critical in alleviating abiotic and biotic constraints and in optimizing potentials.
The research agenda is set through consultations with the farming community and the extension personnel as well as based on need assessment by the faculty, and the state and national agencies and institutions engaged in development and research. Prioritization and relevance are set by the Faculty Research Committees. The Research Council is comprised of eminent scientists and representatives of various interest groups including farmers and agribusiness, apart from providing guidance and linkages with institutions engaged in research but also opportunities for sharing experience guides in setting the research agenda and prioritization. Research Review Committee constituted by the Executive Committee provides overseeing. Task forces and crisis management groups are set up for timely intervention for solving the sudden outbursts of field problems. Rapid Action Groups linking KAU research institutions and the development departments with territories identified to monitor the incidence of pests or diseases or other natural outbreaks and take timely remedial action at various levels of the Government and the University.
Recommendations on crop, livestock, fishery, and forestry production technologies emerging from research within the institutions under the University and sister research organization are compiled, discussed, and evaluated jointly by the extension agencies and other interest groups, and published periodically at 4-5 year intervals as compendia known as Package of Practice Recommendations which are recognized as the most authentic documentation of research outputs.
Research activities are organized and conducted at :
- Six Regional Research Stations
- 26 Research Stations
- Three Centres of Advanced Studies (Animal Breeding and Genetics, Veterinary Pathology, and Poultry Science)
- One Centre in Agricultural Biotechnology and Molecular Biology
- 10 Instructional Farms
- and Facilities and in the laboratories of various departments of the Colleges.
In addition six centers of research and studies (Gender Concerns in Agriculture, Land resources Research and Management, Information Technology, Farming Culture, Elephant Study, and Conservation of Vechchoor Cattle). are in advanced stages of formation. Location-specific research projects are carried out in farmers’ fields also.
The research support for the sustainable development of the agriculture sector of the state is rendered in the partnership mode in close association with the research institutions managed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Development and Commodity Boards, and Departments of the State and Central governments. Over 700 research projects are currently in operation including 34 All India Research Co-ordinated Research Projects/ Network projects in the various fields of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, animal sciences, and fisheries and externally aided projects funded by ICAR, ICFR, DST, DBT, NWDPRA, DoE&F, STEC, PPIC, BARC, etc.
Research undertaken at the University covers all economically important crops grown in the State.