Gangtok, 09 Aug:
All India Coordinated Research Project on PET, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (CAU), Gangtok centre continued plantation drive by planting Guava (Allahabadi Safeda) fruit saplings in the premises of Kalyan Ashram, Ranipool on 08 Aug, 2020 for the benefits of the students residing in the Ashram, which was started in the month of May during the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 to ensure food and nutritional security among the local progressive farmers in different places of East and West districts of Sikkim. Project Investigator of AICRP on PET, Prof Deepak Jhajharia informed that total 700 lemon (Assam lemon) saplings were distributed among the progressive famers of different villages of East Sikkim district (Assam Lingzey, Ranipool and Soureni) and West Sikkim district (Bermiok Barthang, He-Bermiol, etc.). Recently, 500 Guava fruit saplings were also procured under the SCSP scheme of AICRP-PET to distribute among the progressive famers of different villages of East and West Sikkim districts. Lemon, a good source of vitamin C, will help in enhancing the immunity of the local farmers and their families. Fruit plantation drive during the COVID-19 will be an important source of livelihood and will also ensure food and nutritional security among the rural population of Sikkim. Planting fruit trees will also help to reduce the stress among the local population during the global pandemic as fruit trees help people become connected to the growing process along with getting cleaner air, reduced energy cost and green jobs. Prof Jhajharia informs that such plantation drive undertaken in Sikkim is a small part of a big initiative taken by the Vice-Chancellor, CAU (Imphal), Prof M Premjit Singh, who himself is taking personal and keen interest to develop different villages from NE India as model fruit villages in the whole northeast India except Assam. As part of it, about one thousand orange saplings were also planted by Prof PP Dabral Dean, CAEPHT (CAU), Ranipool in presence of extension officer, faculty members and progressive farmers of one of the village situated in East Sikkim district in the current year before the start of the global pandemic. The AICRP-PET, CAEPHT (CAU), which is funded entirely by the CIPHET (ICAR), Ludhiana (Punjab) and other Departments of college plans to promote use of mulching, both plastic and bio-mulches, drip irrigation system, etc. in the fields, where these fruit saplings are planted in near future as part of the extension activities.