Uttarakhand will set up four Centres of Excellence in the state to promote apples, spices and dry fruits, the government said Sunday.
Subodh Uniyal, minister for agriculture and horticulture in the state said that the Centres of Excellence will act as one stop centre for research and development on high-yielding seeds for the crops and fruits, studying effects of climate change on the product, promotion of the produce and making a brand.
“We are working on building four Centres of Excellence in the state for apples, ginger and turmeric, walnuts and vegetables.The Central government has a scheme where states can get Rs 10 crores of financial assistance for making a Centre of Excellence. Using this scheme, we have started working on a proposal which will be sent to the Central government,” said Uniyal.
The minister further said that the Central government has assured the state that financial assistance will be provided to the state for the project.
The Uttarakhand government currently has one centre of excellence for aromatic plants in Selaqui. The construction of another centre of excellence is underway for organic farming in the Narendra Nagar area of Tehri Garhwal district. This project was approved in 2017 under the National Agricultural Development Plan.
A centre of excellence for research and development on new techniques of farming is also being set up in Chaubatia town of Almora district, which will be equipped with laboratories, latest machinery and research apparatus.
“In the long run, we are aiming to have a total of ten Centres of Excellence for different products in the state. With different centres dedicatedly working on different products, building a brand would be easier giving Uttarakhand’s Himalayan produce a separate identity,” added the minister.
Last year, to promote organic farming, the agriculture department had selected an area of 78,000 hectares with most part in the hilly districts, which was divided into 3,900 clusters for growing different kinds of traditional and commercial crops of the state. Each cluster was divided into 20 hectares of land for practicing organic farming.