The Government of India wanted to have separate Agricultural Universities to provide a major thrust to the process of development of agriculture in India. In pursuance of this, Government of India appointed an Education Commission in 1948 under the Chairmanship of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan which recommended the establishment of rural universities in the country. Subsequently, two joint Indo-American Study Teams, one headed by K.R. Damale (1955) and the other by M.S. Randhawa (1959) recommended the establishment of rural universities in India on the Land Grant Pattern Institutions of USA. In 1960, the Government of India appointed the Agricultural University Committee headed by Dr. Ralph W. Cummings from the United States, which prepared blueprint and guidelines for the establishment of Agricultural Universities in different States. As a result of these developments, the first Agricultural University came into existence in Pantnagar, Uttar Pradesh during 1960.
The first Agricultural University in Karnataka was inaugurated on August 21, 1964 at Bangalore. The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore was made responsible for agricultural education, research and extension for the entire Karnataka State. The first Agricultural University itself was to be established at Dharwad but due to lack of facilities as required by the American Experts, it was established in Bangalore. The contributions made by College of Agriculture, Dharwad and other research stations located in northern Karnataka proved worthy of having another Agricultural University in the State. With the efforts of public representatives, farmers, students and those concerned with agriculture development, the second Agricultural University in the name of University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad was established at Dharwad on October 1, 1986. This University was formally inaugurated by His Excellency, the President of India, Shri Gyani Zail Singh on April 17, 1987.
The erstwhile University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore was bifurcated into two Universities in 1986 viz., Bangalore and Dharwad. All the teaching institutions, research stations and extension education units located in twelve northern districts of Karnataka were transferred to the newly formed University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. When the UAS, Dharwad was established in 1986 it inherited College of Agriculture and College of Rural Home Sciences at Dharwad, College of Agriculture at Raichur and Agricultural Engineering Institute (offering diploma programme) at Raichur and Veterinary College at Bidar. In addition, the Forestry Degree Programme [B.Sc. (Forestry)] and the Degree Programme in Agricultural Marketing and Co-operation [B.Sc. (Ag.Maco)] also became constituent programmes of UAS, Dharwad. The Agricultural Engineering Institute which was offering a Diploma was elevated to the College level to offer bachelor’s degree programme in Agricultural Engineering [B. Tech. (Agril. Engg)]. The UAS, Dharwad established one more College of Agriculture at Vijayapura during 1990. Kittur Rani Chennamma College of Horticulture to offer Bachelor degree programme leading to B.Sc. (Horticulture) was established at Arabhavi during 1995. The Forestry Degree Programme was elevated to an independent constituent College of Forestry to offer UG and PG programmes at Sirsi. During 2001, College of Agriculture at Bheemarayanagudi was established. UAS, Dharwad was divided to carve out University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot in 2008 and University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur in 2009. When the UAS, Dharwad was established in 1986, Postgraduate programmes leading to Master’s and Ph.D. programmes were offered only at Dharwad in 13 and 11 subjects, respectively. College of Agriculture, Hanumanamatti was established in 2011 to cater to the growing needs in the region. Later PG programmes were offered in College of Forestry, Sirsi and College of Agriculture, Vijayapura (2011). Currently, Master’s Degree Programme is offered in 24 subjects and Ph.D. in 20 subjects in all the teaching campuses except Hanumanamatti campus. Keeping in pace with growing demands in food processing industry, a four years Bachelor of Technology in Food Technology degree programme has been started since 2012.
Diploma in Agriculture : Two years Diploma (Agri.) programme in Kannada medium was started during 2011 at Dharwad, Vijayapura, Jamakhandi, Nippani, Akki Alur and Kumta. Another Diploma (Agri.) college was started in Konnur in 2015.
The educational programmes in the University have been attracting students from other Indian states and foreign countries. The intake of constituent colleges has been increased to meet the growing demand. The turnout of graduates and postgraduates in various disciplines of the University has been increasing over the years.
Research needs of farmers in the region are catered through 30 research stations spread across five agro-ecosystems and 26 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs). Presently about 64 externally funded projects are operating in the University undertaking basis and applied research. 15 RKVY and 11 projects funded by the Government of Karnataka are being implemented. Several nationally / internationally funded programmes like Obama Singh Knowledge Initiative, ICAR Niche Area of Excellence, CIDA-McGill Collaborative Project, World Bank funded Sujala-III project are being implemented in the University. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) cell has been set up under the Directorate of Research to educate faculty on IPR issues and promote IP protection.
This apart, several mega institutes have been established to meet the growing needs of the society.
- Institute of Agri-Biotechnology (IABT): The institute with its state of the art laboratories, provides high quality education, training and R&D in plant and microbial molecular biology and biotechnology. Major areas of research include gene mining, translational research, functional genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, marker assisted selection and tissue culture for crop improvement.
- Agri-Business and Export Knowledge Centre : The centre has been established to impart marketing and export knowledge to farmers and other stakeholders. About 6,000 farmers have been reached through seminars, training programmes and mass media. It has established links with 20 export groups for mango, pomegranate and chilli through establishing ‘Sufal Growers Association’.
- Institute of Organic Farming (IOF) : The University has established an Institute of Organic Farming in August 2006 as an umbrella centre for various activities under organic farming. The institute is leading in the production of quality bio-inputs like biofertilizers, biopesticides and organic manures. The Institute has developed package of practices for groundnut, soybean, chilli, jowar, wheat, chickpea, potato, maize, jayadhar cotton, etc. During the last five years, the Institute has produced 51 tonnes of biofertilizers, 55 tonnes of biopesticides, 1,836 kg of earthworms and 400 tonnes of vermicompost and compost. A Bio-resource Centre on 16 ha. area has been established to demonstrate various components of organic farming in a holistic way. Various biopesticides like Trichoderma harzianum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis, Paecilomyces lilacinus, Nomuraea rileyi IOF 1 KC 776914, Metarhizium anisopliae IOF 1 KF 408075, Beauveria bassiana, Lecanicillium lecanii have been tested and mass-produced for farmers’ use.
- Seed Unit : The modified seed village concept followed at UAS Dharwad, has been recognized in the country and internationally as “Dharwad Model” of seed production. The University has produced 52,000 q of seeds during 2013-14. UAS, Dharwad stands first in breeder seed production as well as the total seed production in the country. The State of the art Seed Testing and Research Laboratory with advanced scientific equipments has been established. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Authority has conferred the Best DUS Test Centre Award for outstanding contribution made by the centre.
- Pesticide Residue Testing and Quality Analysis Laboratory : It was established during 2007 with assistance from ASIDE Scheme of Government of India, which is the first of its kind in North Karnataka with a budget outlay of Rs. 308.76 lakhs. Mandate of the facility is to analyse pesticide residues in field crops, plantaiton crops, fruits and vegetables and to advocate farmers, consumers, traders on safety issues of pesticides. It is creating awareness among the farming community, building capacity of teachers, students, farmers and traders on pesticide residues and their impacts.
- Food Testing and Processing Laboratory : It is in operation in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition with more than 145 equipments related to processing of grains, fruits and vegetables. The laboratory has facilities to determine the quality parameters of different foods.
- Integrating Bio- treated wastewater reuse with enhanced water use efficiency to support the green economy in EU and India (Water4crops) with a out lay of Rs. 167.62 lakhs (2012-16) has been established to develop and demonstrate integrated treatment processes for agro-food industry effluents targeted at recovery of economically useful components and recycling of water suitable for irrigation.
- Sujala-III project: Support for improved programme integration in rainfed areas of Gadag and Koppal District : A five year period project funded by the World Bank through the Karnataka Watershed Department with a budgetary support of Rs. 1,200 lakhs : Aims to demonstrate effective watershed management through greater integration of programmes related to rainfed agriculture, innovative and science-based approaches and strengthened institutions and capacities of stakeholders at different levels. It strengthens the science based watershed management in IWMP by introducing innovations in the planning process.
- Hi-Tech Horticulture Unit : The centre was established during 2005-2006 with the facilities of modern green house / polyhouse, shade houses, net house, mist house, micro-irrigation and fertigation systems in an area of eight hectares. The Unit is engaged in teaching, conducting research and disseminating technology to farmers in the field of protected cultivation of high value horticulture crops including plant multiplication. The unit has developed production technologies for colour capsicum, tomato, exotic vegetables, rose, gerbera, carnation, orchid, bird of paradise, anthurium, heliconia, alpinia for protected cultivation and is producing nearly 60,000 genuine planting material every year.
- Extension education and transfer of technology programmes have multiplied over the years to meet the growing demands of the farming community. Presently, there are five KVKs and seven Extension Education Units, through which various extension activities are undertaken. ATIC, Krishi Community Radio Station (FM 90.4) on the main campus cater to the needs of farmers in technology transfer. Krishi Mela, a mega farm mela has been attracting a larger number of stakeholders. In 2015, about 11 lakh farmers and stake holders witnessed the event. Several innovations have been introduced in extension programmes like Touch Screen Information KIOSK. New programmes like e-pest surveillance, farm advisory services, recognizing innovative / progressive farmers during Krishi Mela.
- To improve organization efficiency several innovative approaches are being followed. Biometrics system is adopted for ensuring Staff attendance, GPS is adapted for movement of University vehicles, University website which serves as an window for outside world has been periodically upgraded, arrangements are made for online payment of fees and online submission of application for recruitment, high density wifi facility is provided in all campuses of the University, e-procurement of system is followed for material procurement. This apart, several measures have been initiated to stream line administration machinery to improve organizational productivity.
- For balanced regional growth in northern Karnataka and to meet demands, another four year B.Sc. (Agri) degree programme was started from 2011. Efforts are being made to enhance international presence of the University through collaborative works. MoU have been initiated with several international institutions in Asia, USA, Canada, Europe and Africa. Students from foreign Universities are hosted under Study Abroad Programme (SAP) and also University students are sent abroad UASD SAP 2015.