Conserve rich bio-resources, livestock of Northeast — Vice President of India
Dimapur, Oct. 7 (EMN): Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday encouraged innovative research to protect and conserve the rich bio-resources and livestock of the north-eastern region and make efforts to attract the educated youth towards the conservation of mithun.
Naidu, who is on a two-day visit to Nagaland, headed to ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun in Medziphema, on arriving at the Dimapur Airport on Thursday morning.
He called upon the scientists at the ICAR- NRC on Mithun to come up with a method to diversify the use of mithun as meat, milk, hide and draught animal as 96% of the total of mithun population in India is from Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
It may be mentioned that ICAR-NRC on Mithun is the only institute of its kind in the world solely dedicated to the conservation, propagation and development of mithun which is endemic to the north-eastern states of India.
Naidu also lauded the institute for its key role in conservation, breeding, nutrition and health management of mithun and generating invaluable scientific data towards the understanding of this unique species over the last three decades.
Mithun is the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, and the states together account for 96% of the total 3.8 lakh mithun population in India, he shared, adding that according to the 20th Livestock Census (2019), the mithun population recorded an overall increase of 30.6%.
He lauded the institute for protecting and preserving this bovine.
‘You have done full genome sequencing of mithun to understand its evolutionary history across the distinct geographical location. Your notable achievements include development of simple technology for determination of age of mithun by dentition patterns and development of low-cost complete feed block using locally available trees or shrubs and industrial by-products,’ he stated.
It was informed that the centre had developed artificial insemination protocol for mithun and three calves were born through this technology in 2012.
The vice president lauded the scientists at the institute for their efforts in providing healthcare services to mithun farms in the area and developing a mithun mitra mobile app for the farmers.
He also said that the institute, since its inception in 1975, has been promoting and conducting research, extension and human resource development activities in agriculture and allied sectors for the hilly and mountain ecosystem of north-eastern states.
‘With headquarters in Umiam, Meghalaya and regional centres in six states, it is one of the largest institutes of ICAR, and I am happy to know that the institute has had several notable achievements including the development of 56 crop varieties,’ he said.
He stated that since most of the farmers in the Northeast are small and marginal landholders, the institute’s emphasis on promoting integrated farming systems comprising crop, livestock, poultry, fishery, and horticulture is praiseworthy.
‘Every effort must be made to promoting dairying by adopting the latest technological advances in the field,’ he said.
He further acknowledged ICAR Research Complex for NEH region for working to improve animal health coverage and livestock production systems including trans-boundary diseases.
Pointing out that more than 70% of the people are directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood support in the Northeast, he urged the scientific institutions to work for development of location-specific technologies which are sustainable, climate-resilient and culturally in sync with the tribal cultures of the region.
Referring to climate change, he said there is a danger of the beautiful but ecologically fragile NE region getting impacted by the rise in global temperatures.
“Therefore, I urge our scientists and researchers to focus their attention on the likely problems farmers might face due to global warming and find suitable solutions,” he said.
He further encouraged the people to focus not only on increasing productivity but also make sure that agriculture practices are sustainable in the long term.
Lauding north-eastern states for their focus on organic agriculture, he said “in this field, you are showing the way to the rest of India”.
Reiterating that technical knowhow generated in a laboratory has no meaning unless it reaches the farmers, Naidu said, “Seamless transfer of knowledge from ‘Lab to land’ should be our constant endeavour”.
He complimented the institutes for its initiatives towards doubling the farmers’ income and creating self-reliant and self-sustaining tribal communities.
The governor of Nagaland and Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Deputy CM Y Patton, Agriculture Minister G Kaito Aye, Director of ICAR- NRC on Mithun, Dr. Meraj Haider Khan, Joint Director of ICAR- Research Complex for NEH Region, Dr. DJ Rajkhowa, scientists and staff from these two institutes were among those present at the occasion.