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CCRI boost to Northeast citrus

Officials of Central Citrus Research Institute and Assam Agricultural University after signing the MoU in Jorhat on Monday. Picture courtesy: AAU

Guwahati, March 6: The Nagpur-based Central Citrus Research Institute (CCRI) is providing a helping hand to citrus cultivation in the Northeast.

The CCRI under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Assam Agricultural University (AAU) to arrest the decline of citrus in the Northeast, which has been happening for the past decade, and provide all the required technical guidance to citrus growers in the region.

Experts say the Northeast is reported to be the centre of origin and rich in diversity of citrus species. This region has 17 species, out of which eight are indigenous to this region.

Citrus fruits thrive in the tropical region, grow well in sub-tropical and can endure a temperate climate. They can be grown commercially from the sea level to an altitude of 1,000m in the hills of the Northeast.

AAU vice-chancellor K.M. Bujarbaruah told The Telegraph that citrus production has been declining in the Northeast for the last decade because of diseases and other managerial problems. The present citrus production in the region is 3.23 lakh metric tonnes and there are 30,300 growers.

"Massive research is needed to find out the solutions and that is the reason for signing an MoU with the CCRI," he said. The research institute is known for its contribution to Nagpur santra.

On behalf of the CCRI, the agreement was signed by M.L. Ladaniya and by Arpan Saikia on behalf of AAU.

As a first step, disease-free citrus planting materials will be provided to the growers. "We have allotted a plot of land for the CCRI to open a subcentre at our agriculture college at Biswanath Chariali," Bujarbaruah said.

Under the MoU, the regional centre will be providing all the required technical guidance and assistance to citrus growers of the Northeast. The centre will propel citrus production, particularly Khasi mandarin in the region, with scientific eco-friendly technologies and also engage in transfer of technology programmes. The regional centre will also impart on-campus and off-campus training to state department officials and other subject matter specialists. The CCRI will soon start demonstrations on rejuvenation of declining Khasi mandarin orchards very soon.

Allocations for scientific, technical, administrative and supporting staff would be proposed in the budget of the institute, apart from setting up office buildings, to be built in a phased manner in the next four years. The fund provision is being made in the new budget for the institute's development.


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