Port Blair, Mar 24: A two- days’ state level seminar- cum -exhibition on ‘Processing & Product Diversification of Fruits’, got underway in the conference hall of DBRAIT today. The Chief Secretary, A & N Administration, Shri. Anindo Majumdar as chief guest lighted the traditional oil lamp which marked the inauguration of the seminar. Dr. Wasakha Singh Dhillon, Assistant Director General, Horticulture Science, New Delhi graced the occasion as guest of honour while Shri. Ramesh Verma, Secretary (Agri.) presided over the function. The High Value Agriculture Development Agency organized the seminar in association with Directorate of Agriculture and National Horticulture Mission, Port Blair.
The Retd. Sr. Scientist, Dept. of Ground Water, Jodhpur, Dr. D.D Ozha is also attending the seminar and will deliver speech on hi-tech horticulture farming for improving socio-economic status and their impact on income generation.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Secretary appreciated the Secretary Agriculture for conducting the seminar which, he said, is aimed at educating Islands’ farmers to improve production of Horticultural crops and creating awareness about importance of processing and product diversification. The Chief Secretary called upon the officers of the Agriculture Department and Scientist of CIARI to come out with result oriented plans for the growth of Horticulture. The farmers have to be motivated to go for horticulture crops apart from the areca nut cultivation which they are very fond of, he observed. The Chief Secretary underlined the need for taking advantage of KVK’s functioning in Islands for transfer of technology and agro – extension activities to the farmers. He also urged for providing good quality planting materials to the farmers so that they get good yield out of it.
The Chief Secretary also advocated for propagating about organic farming, which has already been taken up by the farmers in Neil and Little Andaman, in all other Isles too. He also urged for arranging capacity building and continuous exposure for officers of Agri and CIARI scientists at National and International level besides exposure visit for farmers to know about the new farming techniques taking place at mainland.
In his address as the guest of honour, Dr. Wasakha Singh Dhillon, Assistant Director General, Horticulture Science, New Delhi, while giving an overall agriculture scenario, stated that horticulture is developing very fast and food grain productivity has increased. This, he said, is a good sign as far as the Agriculture Sector is concerned.
The ADG further stated that nutrition security is possible only through horticulture. “We have to increase the productivity of fruits to feed the population which, he said, always contributes towards nutrition security. Pointing towards transfer of technology, the ADG said transfer of technology is very essential for Agriculture growth. KVKs and other agencies must be utilized for transfer of technology and it must be ensured that at least 60 percent of the technology reaches to the farmers.
Presiding over the seminar, the Secretary (Agri)/ Vice Chairman, HVADA, Shri Ramesh Varma informed that Islands’ climate is ideal for taking up horticulture and farmers are being motivated to take up Horticulture activities. Seminar on ‘Processing & Product Diversification of Fruits’ will help the farmers to know about post harvest management, value addition of fruit crops and how to arrest wastage of horticulture produce.
The Director, Agriculture, Shri AK Das proposed the vote of thanks at the end of the inaugural session. Resource persons from mainland, Scientist from Research and Development, Agriculture Extension Officers, NGOs, SHGs, entrepreneurs and progressive farmers are participating in the seminar which will conclude with field visits and a valedictory function tomorrow (Mar 25).
As part of the programme, a field visit to Organic Horticulture Farm, Sippighat, Integrated Coconut Processing Unit & Albert Agro Pvt. Ltd. Mithakhari (Noni processing unit) will be conducted on the second day.