GUWAHATI, June 19 – The State has laid stress on inducting a mission mode approach by the Union Government to document and conserve the diverse and unique horticultural germplasms available not only in Assam but also in other parts of the NE region before they get extinct due to overexploitation or negligence.
It also called for measures to set up one sub-centre of the Sikkim-based National Research Centre for orchids at Guwahati to deal with the tropical orchids available locally in the region in abundance.
The above assertions were made by the State in its presentation before the Planning Commission's Working Group on Horticulture and Plantation Crops at its second meeting held here recently, for preparing the draft plan on horticulture and plantation crops for the 12 th Five Year Plan period. At the meeting, former director of State's Horticulture Department Dr Harshajyoti Barooah had made the presentation on behalf of the State.
Barooah reminded the members of the Working Group that the NE region is regarded as the “breeders’ paradise.”
Steps for strengthening horticultural data base, associating and strengthening Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) system, particularly State Agriculture University and their network of KVKs for production of elite planting materials to make it easily available to farmers were also called for in the presentation.
Besides, Dr Barooah also raised the issues like fine tuning the Comprehensive District Action Plan(C-DAP) under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana keeping in view the long-term marketing scenario, encouraging new generation farmers with infrastructure support for scientific post-harvest handling and marketing of perishable horticultural produces along with their capacity building.
In the meeting, the Assam Agricultural University also urged to set up a centre of excellence in post-harvest handling of horticultural crops, setting up a regional training centre in tea production, processing and management of small scale sector to cater to the needs of 67,000 small tea growers, covering 1,20,000 hectares, besides other vital issues, said a press release.
It needs mention here that the Planning Commission of the Government of India is holding regional feedback meetings to frame draft plan for horticulture and plantation crops for execution during the 12th plan period between 2012 and 2017.