Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh addressed the conclave of Chief Ministers of Himalayan states organized in Shimla last week stressing on the need to exploit the diversity of the region for the growth of plant and animals.
Singh said to the Chief Ministers that for the promotion of organic farming, there is a plan to develop clusters of 50 acres for which funds are being provided in the ratio of 90:10. In order to promote value chain in organic farming in North East region, financial assistance for advanced seed plantation materials, development of basic structure etc is being provided to Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, he underlined.
Singh said that Himalayan states are diverse in agricultural species, agricultural production systems and livestock breeds. This diversity is extremely useful for the future, not only for humans but also for the protection and development of all animals and plants, he added.
He said that organic farming should be emphasized for the coming generations. The Minister said that under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Rs 1307 crore has been allocated since 2015-16 for the development of organic farming in the cluster mode. 5 lakh farmers have benefited from this and 2.38 lakh hectare of land has been brought under organic farming. Under the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCD-NER), 50,000 farmers have been engaged in organic farming and 2500 interested farmers group have been developed. Sikkim is the first state to adopt organic farming and learning from it, other states are also adopting organic farming.
“Under the National Horticulture Mission, assistance is being provided mainly for the construction of ca storage, nurseries, processing units in the North Eastern and Himalayan states. So far, 26 CA (controlled atmospheric) storages have been established in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand with a capacity of 1 lakh metric tonne. 20 processing units have been established in North East and Himalayan states and 519 Marketing Infrastructure Units have been set up”, Minister said.
Drawing attention towards climate change, the Minister said that in order to deal with this, 45 Integrated Farming System models have been developed by ICAR covering all 15 agro-climatic areas of the country. These climate-friendly technologies are being displayed and promoted in 29 states through KVKs.
Singh also addressed the 70th Foundation Day ceremony of ICAR- Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla and the area under potato cultivation was 2.30 lakh hectare and production was 15.4 lakh tonnes in 1949-50, it rose to 21.64 lakh hectares and 4.65 crore tonnes respectively in 2016-17.
The institute has developed several new technologies in order to increase potato production. The scientists of the institute have developed Indo-Blightcast model for forecasting potato late blight. The Institute has also developed multiple disease resistance advanced species of potato, he lauded.