The Zizira team meets the workers of ICAR NEH | Zizira

Why is Zizira Interested in ICAR NEH?

Well, Zizira operates from Shillong too, the capital of Meghalaya in the Northeast part of India – a region known for its verdant landscape, natural springs that irrigate fields, and unique herbs and spices. Over 80% of the population depend on agriculture. Many among them are growing high value herbs and spices too and could better their livelihood by finding a steady market for these, but struggle to do that.

Zizira is striving to open markets for them. To be able to help farmers of Meghalaya unleash the unrealized potential of their land we, at Zizira, need to be in touch with the institutions like the ICAR NEH.

The Mother Organization ICAR

The ICAR is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare , Government of India.

ICAR Vision

To ensure food and income security for all, through technological innovations and sustainable agriculture.

ICAR Mission

To harness the power of science and education with a human touch for higher and sustainable agricultural production.

ICAR is not only into agricultural research, but also into animal husbandry, fisheries and horticulture and their extension services.

ICAR NEH - one Among a Hundred Such

The ICAR NEH branch in Meghalaya is one of the 101 ICAR institutes in India and if for all the states of northeast India.

ICAR NEH was established in the year 1975 for supporting agricultural development in the North Eastern Hill region. It encompasses all the disciplines of agriculture, horticulture, animal sciences, agricultural engineering, agro-forestry and fishery.

On the ICAR NEH campus in Meghalaya they have about 60 scientists working to help farmers.

We visited their campus a few years back and our team came away impressed with the dedication and commitment of these scientists.

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What you see above is the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) NEH Region facility in Umiam, Meghalaya – very close to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.

The ICAR NEH Thrust Areas:

  • To evolve sustainable integrated farming systems for jhum improvement and restoration of degraded lands
  • To increase the overall productivity of different crops through research in cereals, pulses, oil seeds, horticultural crops including temperate .horticulture, agro-forestry, fisheries and other economical crops.
  • Development of feed and fodder resources from locally available fodder for livestock.
  • Improvement of citrus plantation to reinvigorate the citrus industry.
  • Animal health coverage and improvement of livestock production system including trans-boundary diseases. (Source)

There is a list of their ongoing projects on the ICAR NEH website.

We identified a few that are of interest to Zizira:

1. Evaluation of Perilla (Perilla frutescensL.) for nutritional and medicinal benefits under different storage conditions
Project in charge: C. Aochen.
Assisted by: Bijoya Bhattacharjee and Amit Kumar
It is being conducted by the Biotechnology division.
Having started in June, 2018, the study should be done by May, 2021.

2. Studies on the enhanced storability of underutilized fruits of Northeast Region [Under “Flagship Programme on Temperate Horticulture”]
Project in charge: S. R. Assumi.
Assisted by: N. A. Deshmukh, S. S. Roy and K. Puro C. Aochen
Being conducted by the Horticulture Division
Having started in Sept., 2019 the report should be ready in 2023.

3. Evaluation of automatic solar drip irrigation system for mid hills of Meghalaya
Project in charge: H. Dayananda Singh
Assisted by: B. K. Sethy, Naseeb Singh
Being conducted by the Agricultural Engineering Division
Having started in Jan., 2017 it should be done by 2021.

4. Development of low cost bamboo drip irrigation technology for high value crop (tomato) in moisture stressed hilly upland condition
Project in charge: Uday SaikiaS
Assisted by: Hazarika
Being conducted by Water Management
Having started in Aug., 2018 it should be done by June 2021.

We look forward to finding out more about these projects. We have met Perilla farmers and we have a few stories on them. We have also met farmers using bamboo drip irrigation and seen how beneficial it is. So, Zizira would be interested in knowing the results of these studies so we can share that with the farmers in our network.

Some day we hope to be able to collaborate with ICAR NEH Region to help fulfil their vision and mission.

Do you know something more about the agricultural potential of Meghalaya? Do share with us. If you have a question about any spices, herbs or fruits of Meghalaya do ask. We will be happy to share with you whatever we know.

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