SHILLONG, Dec 24: The Northeast has the potential to be economically self-sufficient through agricultural activities. What the region needs to do is go for investment and scientific method of farming rather than ‘suffer’ while trying to join the green revolution of northern and western regions of the country.
This was the observation of Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) secretary and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Dr Mangala Rai. In the course of his speech at the ICAR complex in Shillong today, Rai said, “It’s unfortunate that the east is looking towards the west when the agricultural revolution started from here”.
Pointing out to the abundance of rich land, favourable climate and other adjectives that can make the region different from other parts of the country, Rai said, “A solution lies in understanding the strength, the blend of the indigenous knowledge along with scientific discovery and investment that can make the region better off with food”.
“Don’t run after the west or the north when you have all the strengths that can shape the economy through agricultural activities,” exhorted Rai, while pointing at the dependence of the Northeast on agriculture for its economy. Almost 70 per cent of the north-eastern populace depends on agriculture against the 52 per cent recorded dependence all over the country.
Mangala Rai today called for “heavy investment” in agriculture and allied sectors as a way to reap the rich potentials.
Emphasizing on development of horticulture, floriculture, pisciculture and other such sectors, Rai said agricultural produces from the Northeast should be value added and linked to the international market for the benefit of the farmers.
The abundant water available in the Northeast should be put to judicious and effective use for the development of the region, the eminent scientist said. He rued the fact that while the rest of the country has been harvesting 29 per cent of the available water, the corresponding figure in the Northeast was only 20 per cent. “With high precipitation, water in the region should be put to multiple uses so that it does not become a menace but an instrument for development,” he said.
Rai also stressed the need of water harvesting as a means to ensure proper utilization of the water available. “Despite so much precipitation, Cherrapunjee can’t have a second crop because of lack of water,” he said adding that a different strategy should be adopted to deal with this irony. THE SENTINEL