JORHAT- Deputy Chief Minister, Chowna Mein visited Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat today along with the Director of Agriculture, Anong Lego and team of Officers from the Department of Agriculture.
In a round table discussion with the Vice Chancellor, Scientists & faculty members of AAU, Jorhat, Mein seek scientific intervention, support, help and guidance from the Institute in Research & Development, evolving of package of practices and GI registration of indigenous crops of the State like Khamti Lahi, Monpa Maize, Adi Kekir, etc.
While citing the vast potential of agriculture and allied activities in Arunachal Pradesh, he informed that the State has about 25 lakh Hectare of cultivable land out of which 7 lakh hectare is fit for food and commercial crops through conventional irrigation and 18 lakh hectares area suitable for horticultural crops. The State has Unique biodiversity with about 80% of the traditional Agriculture practice producing organic product, he said.
He also said that Agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in the economy of Arunachal Pradesh as this sector contributes more than 32% to the state’s GDP. He said that the State is bestowed with five agro-climatic zones supporting crop production of all climatic requirements and has vast water resources, large numbers of plant and animal genetic resources and there is plentiful scope of horizontal as well as vertical expansion of cropped areas as the state has so far been able to utilize only 14 % of the total arable area of 2.5 million hectare.
He further informed that the state Govt. has accorded top priority to climate resilient Agri & allied sector activities, not only to achieve food and nutritional security but also to sustain livelihood and ensure remunerative return of the toil of farmer and also to create employment opportunities in rural areas to decelerate urban migration of young workforce.
He said that Geographical Indicators (GI) and networking for quality assurance, packaging, branding need to be promoted for exportable commodities to meet the International standards & protocol. Many indigenous crop species of high demand especially in the overseas market need to be GI registered for patenting so as to ensure Intellectual Property Rights protection to fetch premium price in the international markets, he said.
Mein said that the GI Registration will not only be limited to Khamti Lahi/Rice, Monpa Maize and Adi Kekir but will be extended to other indigenous crops of the State.
Vice-Chancellor of AAU Jorhat, Dr Bidyut C Deka informed that Assam Agriculture University established in the year 1969 is one of the oldest agriculture university in India. As the main centre of teaching, research and extension education in the field of agriculture & allied sciences in North East Region it offers 19 different vocational courses. Apart from GI registrations, the University has created crop varieties and developed organic package of practices for crops in Assam. He assured all possible support and assistance from the University and to work in collaboration with the Govt of Arunachal Pradesh.
Govt of Arunachal Pradesh Director of Agriculture, Anong Lego, Director of Research (Agri), AAU, Dr Ashok Bhattacharya, Dr Pinaki Sengupta, retired Chief Scientist and former head of NEIST, Jorhat and others also spoke on the occasion.
In the meeting, Department of Agriculture, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat has agreed to go ahead with the proposal and signing of MoU.
AAU Jorhat and KVK Namsai had cultivated 10 varieties of Khamti Lahi as observation trials for development and purification of seeds during the year 2020. Observation and cultivation for Monpa Maize and Adi Kekir will be done from this year onward.
DCM also made a field visit to the Tea Garden, Biofertilizer Unit, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Dept, Plant Pathology and North East Agriculture Technology Entrepreneurs Hub in the campus and interacted with the faculty members and students.