JORHAT, April 9 - Participating in the 52nd annual rice group meeting at the Jorhat-based Assam Agricultural University (AAU), State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora on Sunday appealed to the agricultural scientists of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Indian Institute of Rice Research and the university to conduct extensive research for the value addition of the local varieties of rice including aromatic Joha rice and black rice.
Several scientists and researchers of different rice research institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and agricultural universities and many other officials of the Central government�s Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) participated in the annual rice group meeting, which was held for the first time in the State since the All India Rice Improvement Project was launched in 1965.
Pointing out the significance of such a symposium in the State, minister Bora said that extensive research, analysis and series of discussions by the ever-curious minds on the local varieties of rice will definitely help in the improvement of quality of the varieties of rice from which the farmers of the State will reap more economic benefit in future.
�I am happy to inform you that our State is one of the top 10 rice producing States of the nation. Last year, we produced 52 lakh metric tonnes of rice and this year our expectation is to have a paddy harvest of around 75 lakh metric tonnes,� said Bora.
He also said that despite the massive attacks by swarming caterpillars in the paddy fields of the State, the farmers could harvest a considerable quantity because of the prompt action by the government in the nook and corners of the State.
As one farmer of the State namely Upendra Rabha of Goalpara district has already set example of earning better profit from black rice cultivation, the Agriculture Minister specifically mentioned his success story which could encourage many other farmers of his locality.
It is to be mentioned that the ICAR felicitated five farmers of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur and one woman farmer of the State Nabanita Das for their exemplary farming patterns and innovative skills for promoting low-cost cultivation.
Nabanita Das of Jorhat has already encouraged many women and unskilled youths of rural pockets like Potiagaon of the district to start organic farming for economic benefits.
As the scientists of the Regional Research Station (Titabor) of the Assam Agricultural University has made commendable progress in the improvement of many submergence tolerant rice varieties, the vice-chancellor of the university, Dr Kamal Malla Bujarbaruah, applauded their scientific efforts for the common benefit of farming community.