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AAU-Norwegian govt to collaborate on climate project
Staff Correspondent

Agriculture Minister Atul Bora lighting the ceremonial lamp during the inauguration of the resilience project on Building Climate Resilience of Smallholders in Assam and Odisha in Jorhat on Wednesday. – UB Photos
 JORHAT, Oct 10 - A collaborative project between Assam Agricultural University (AAU) and the Norwegian government on climate resilient agriculture today was launched at the AAU after both sides signed the MoU in the presence of the Norwegian Ambassador India Nils Ragnar Kamsvag and the State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora.

The project has been titled ‘Building Climate Resilience of Smallholders In Assam and Odisha’ and it will run for four years.

On behalf of the AAU, the Vice-Chancellor Dr KM Bujarbaruah signed the MoU while from the Norwegian side, the Director, Centre For International Development of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NBIO), Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, signed the document.

The NBIO will execute the project along with AAU in Assam and Odisha with support from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (Bhubaneswar), International Water Management Institute (Colombo), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (Chennai) and National Rice Research Institute (Cuttack) as partners.

In his address, Bujarbaruah said that the project aims at improving agricultural productivity, adaptive capacity and livelihoods of smallholders to climate and economic enhancements, by building resilience and strengthening the agri-product market.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the project will be implemented in four districts each in Assam and Odisha, where selected climate smart agriculture technologies will be demonstrated and upscaled in close cooperation with farmers and other stakeholders. He said that the project will be implemented in drought-hit and heavy-rainfall affected areas.

Speaking on the ocassion, the Norwegian Ambassador said that his government has been giving importance to maintaining a clean environment and tackling climatic changes. Stating that Norway as per the Paris Agreement on tackling climate changes, was taking measures to reduce carbon emissions, Kamsvag said Norway has set 2050 as target to achieve carbon neutrality.

He said that climate changes across the globe were adversely impacting marginal and small farmers and so steps needed to be taken to combat these challenges. He pointed out that India and Norway were in recent times working on several projects on preserving the environment and to evolve technologies to enable the small farmers to adapt to climatic changes. He hoped that the collaborative project launched will achieve complete success.

Minister Atul Bora, in his address, hoped that the project will economically benefit the farmers in enhancing their incomes. He stated that the State government was keeping its doors open for foreign investment in the agricultural sector.

Earlier, the Director of Research (Agriculture), AAU, Ashok Bhattacharyya, gave the welcome address while the Director, NIBIO Centre for International Development Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, gave an outline of the project.

Dr T Ahmed, Chief Scientist, Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) of AAU offered the vote of thanks.

Tocklai visit: The Norwegian Ambassador to India Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, accompanied by Dr Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, Director, Centre For International Development of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and Ragnar Vaga Pedersen, Director of Communications, NIBIO, along with a team of delegates visited Tocklai Tea Research Institute on the Cinnamara outskirts here later in the day.

A Tocklai official said that the Tea Research Association Chairman, who is also the Tea Board Chairman, PK Bezboruah welcomed the Ambassador and led the interactive session that was held.

The Director TRA, Dr AK Barooah briefed the Ambassador on the century-old tea research institute and highlighted some of Tocklai’s current research and development initiatives, including thrust areas of research on climate change and adaptation measures for tea plantations of the state, the official stated.

A set of Tocklai publications on green technologies for sustainable tea production was presented to the dignitaries.

Kamsvag had discussions with Tocklai scientists on a wide range of topic that included climate change adaptation measures, the role of shade trees in the tea ecosystem, tea quality and different tea manufacturing methods, the official said.

Kamsvag visited the Model Tea Factory at Tocklai to witness the intricacies involved in the tea manufacturing process.

The official said that the Ambassador showed keen interest in the work done at Tocklai and actively participated in a tea tasting session.

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