Shillong: In order to improve and promote the livelihood of farmers, the Meghalaya government has decided to partner with Israel for establishing a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on high value vegetables in the state.
The CoE is vital to tap the diverse bio-diversity and resources available in the State in terms of its soil and agro-climatic conditions. It will also act as an impetus for further research and expansion into multi-fold aspects, including tourism potential considering the State has a gene pool of important vegetables, fruits and plants such as the Citrus fruits in Nokrek, East Garo Hills District.
In a meeting held on Tuesday via video conferencing with representatives from the partner country and senior officials from the State agriculture department the Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma instructed the concerned department to focus on research on quality seedlings and planting materials.
Apart from adopting the best practices to upscale production and quality Sangma stressed on the need to develop and facilitate market linkages and explore the potential for crossing over to global markets especially Bangladesh.
Sangma also pointed out the need to carry out Impact Assessment in terms of number of farmers trained and benefited.
According to officials, the State is expected to benefit from the wide expertise offered by the Israel collaboration in terms of fertigation, protected cultivation, quality planting materials, etc. It is also expected that the collaboration will bring in technology support, technology know-how and Quality Planting Materials from the partner country.
The CoE will generate meaningful impact by generating/propagating seedlings through Quality Planting Materials. It will also improve cultivation by bringing in techniques and technology support as well as creation of water harvesting and conservation initiatives. It will also explore the possibility of setting up State of the Art Packing House which will address the marketing issue.
The way forward is to expand beyond the CoE to Villages of Excellence (VoE).
The state agriculture department has decided to initiate the collaboration in two phases. Initially it will focus on seasonal and high value vegetables and water management through small multi purpose reservoirs/ponds for irrigation, fishery, etc. The second phase will concentrate on the expansion of the research and development of citrus fruits.