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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Himanta Biswa Sarma Allays Palm Oil Cultivation Fear

CM Bats For Establishing Close Link Between Farmers And Agri Researchers

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HT Correspondent

 

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JORHAT, Aug 16: Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday batted for palm oil plantation in the state allaying fears of ill-effects of the plant on soil and fertility and of heavy consumption of groundwater.

Sarma, who was the chief guest at the concluding function of year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of College of Agriculture of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) held at the Dr MC Das Memorial Auditorium of the university here, referring to concerns about the oil palm cultivation initiative launched in Assam, observed that believing social media knowledge could be detrimental.

The chief minister said that as per the inputs of oil palm cultivation undertaken in Goalpara and Nalbari districts in recent times there has been no loss of soil fertility.

He also said that as per latest ICAR research findings, water consumption by the oil palm plant in Assam was not much and that irrigation would be required for only four months and rain water was sufficient for the rest of the year.

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Stressing on the need for planting oil palm, CM Sarma said that the country was importing 1.5 lakh crore palm oil per annum and there was a need to cut down the dependence.

While lauding the University for its immense contribution to agricultural and allied sectors and towards the economy, he rued the fact that youths were not inclined to take up agriculture as a profession and ran after government and private sector jobs as they thought that agriculture was not a profitable venture. In this regard he asked the University to spread the success stories of farmers to attract youths towards agriculture which had a huge earning potential.

The CM called for synthesis of modern farming technologies which incorporated AI and satellite imagery. He also asked the University to generate motivation among the University students so that they would take the lead agripreneurship ventures through start ups and innovations. This would result in a sense of dignity in the profession and most importantly, the profitability, he said.

He also called for establishing a close connection between farmers and agri researchers.

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Sarma also stressed on processing and marketing of agriproducts.

Calling for diversification of crops, Sarma said that in the last few years several farmers had shifted to tea leading to qualitative fall of tea production and so other viable crops should be cultivated.

He said that the government had promoted mustard cultivation which was not being able to achieve its purpose in view of high moisture content, which needed to be addressed.

Urging the scientists and researchers of the Institute to find short term solutions to fix the moisture content, which he said was also a problem in rice due to the state’s climate.

Sarma also released four books on the occasion.

Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated four new projects – the Biofertilizer & Biopesticide production centre, the new building of DBT-NE Centre for Agricultural Biotechnology, the International Guest House, the Agriculture Tourism Retreat and 1 MW rooftop Solar Power plant.

His cabinet ministers Atul Bora, Ajanta Neog, Jayanta Malla Baruah, and Rajya Sabha MPs KP Tasa and Pabitra Margherita, Lok Sabha MP Topon Gogoi, and MLAs of Jorhat and other constituencies attended the ceremony.

Earlier, VC of AAU Dr Bidyut Chandan Deka in his speech gave a glimpse of the activities and journey of the institution.

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