The unlimited potentialities in agriculture in the North Eastern states of the country are to be given special attention for development. This was announced by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh while inaugurating the Regional Agriculture Fair 2016-17 in Central Agriculture University, Imphal, Manipur.
The government is further in the process of implementing a number of agriculture related programmes in the region with special emphasis on organic farming which promotes bio diversity, bio cycling as well as soil bio activities. The North-eastern region is thus set to be the flag bearer in popularising organic farming. The aim is to create an eco-friendly atmosphere for crops as well as animals without the use of synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics and synthetic pesticides. In this regard, the Minister also announced a series of projects to realise these goals. Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav, Rashtriya Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, strengthening of Krishi Vigyan Kendras as well as extension of agricultural education is on the list of government for fulfilling the objectives.
Keeping in view the tremendous potential for beekeeping in North-eastern states, National Bee Board and Ministry of Agriculture have also decided to set up an Integrated Bee Keeping Development Centre (IBDC) in Central Agriculture University, Imphal, Manipur. The Centre will help in the development of the beekeeping sector in Manipur and also assist the bee farmers.
Emphasising on development of post-harvest and residual management in the region that has so far been the reason for ample losses to the farming yield, the Minister said that technology will be made available near the production site for the development of post harvesting processing, value addition and production growth. Lack of post-harvest facilities has particularly inflicted the yield of horticulture and animals. Availability of technology will not only ensure security of farm yield but also generate employment opportunities resulting in income enhancement of the farmers. The Minister also stressed on the need to frame an adaptable strategy to convert the food sector into an organized one.
Explaining the government’s commitment to improve the agricultural sector, Shri Singh said that the number of agricultural colleges has gone up to 13 from 7 and budget allocation for agriculture education for North-eastern States has been increased from Rs. 150 crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 170 crore. Again, fund earmarked for agricultural research has been amplified by almost Rs. 500 crore (32.8%) to Rs. 2020 crore. There is also an addition of almost Rs. 90 crore (13.6%) to Rs. 750 crore as compared to the previous year in agriculture extension.
The Minister further informed about formation of an Integrated Information Management System for all agriculture universities and educational institutes of ICAR throughout the country. This is aimed to help students collect information online related to the programmes of Universities, activities, scholarship, studies as well as curriculum. The national database of students will also be available for them. The first phase of the system will begin at Central Agriculture University, Imphal and National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, to be linked with rest of the universities and educational institutes later.
The Regional Agricultural Fair that had the subject line “In the second Green Revolution, the importance of organic as well as integrated farming methodologies” also saw the participation of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors of Central Agriculture University, Imphal and Vice Chancellor of Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat.