Agriculture in hilly states dependent on Brahmaputra-Barak Basin

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Umiam, (Meghalaya) June 22 (UNI) Indian agricultural scientists have observed that the future of agriculture in the mountainous Northeastern states will depend on the way the Brahmaputra-Barak Basin is harnessed.

This observation was made during the two-day conference on ''Agricultural development in North Eastern Hills Region: Opportunities and Challenges'' at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) centre here.

The recommendations are expected to provide a roadmap for agricultural development in the hilly region, in the context of climate change and declining global food production.

''Water is the key to agricultural development in the region, but unfortunately, even though the region receives a lot of rainfall, most of the water is drained out of the region,'' Deputy Director General of the ICAR (Natural Resource Management) Dr A K Singh told UNI here.

In fact, almost the all the major basins in India are facing stress due to gradual depletion of water flow. Out of over a dozen important river basins of the country, only the Brahmaputra-Barak Basin has been able to maintain adequate water flow.

Another ICAR scientist S V Ngachan said the Northeastern hilly region, despite its unique agro-climatic conditions and rich biodiversity, is facing serious problems.

''Soil erosion and soil acidity are two major problems limiting agricultural productivity in the region,'' he said.

Most of the agricultural scientists agreed to the growing global concern over the impending climate crisis, which may have serious consequences on food production systems, food security and the rich biodiversity of the region.

''We had enough technologies to deal with the agricultural problems of the region, but these have not been adequately utilised at the grassroots farmers' level,'' ICAR's Deputy Director General Dr K M Bujarbaruah said.

The Northeastern Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was mandated to study particularly the traditional shifting cultivation systems prevalent in the upland areas and suggest how to improve the local farming practices with improved knowledge of science and appropriate technology.

UNI RRK DPM RD1343

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