Millennium Post

Govt to set up centre of excellence for agriculture

Govt to set up centre of excellence for agriculture

Kolkata: The Bengal government is likely to set up a centre of excellence (COE) for agriculture and horticulture at Chinsurah in Hoogly district by the end of this year, department of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture secretary Nandini Chakravorty said on Tuesday.

While addressing a seminar organised by the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city about the development of food processing industries and horticulture in West Bengal, Chakravorty said: "Agriculture is very technology-intensive and so there is a dire need to bring in new techniques and technologies. We have pondering for a while to set up a centre of excellence in Bengal. Earlier, it had not received approval from the government of India but now we are bringing the centre of excellence under a different scheme with the Israelis and the setup should be completed by 2019".

She further said: "The government wants to set up three packaging houses in each district under the public-private partnership mode."

In 2006, the agricultural ministers of India and Israel had signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the Indo-Israel Agricultural Project, which aimed at establishing various centers of excellence across the country to disseminate Israeli technologies and know-how to Indian farmers.

As of now, more than two dozen COEs have sprung up across the country.

Stressing on the need to convert agriculture into agri-business for survival, Janab Abdur Razzak Molla, Minister of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture said the only way to increase the farmers' income was to adopt the method of participatory farming in which the private investors would be able to tie up with the farmers on a contractual basis.

He said: "In participatory farming, the land and labour will be provided by the farmers, while the inputs and technology will be provided by private entrepreneurs who will bear the business risks to reap profit, not only for domestic markets but also for exports. The government will play the role only of a facilitator."

Aiming at the business community present at the seminar, the minister urged the community to come forward with their business proposals for investment. He also said that facilities like packaging houses, poly houses, and subsidies will be provided by the government.

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