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Farm tech body to focus on post-harvest issues

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , June 10

THE Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has submitted a proposal to the Planning Commission for implementing the second phase of the World Bank-assisted National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP), said Dr S.L. Mehta, National Director, NATP.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, he said the second phase of the NATP envisaged a total outlay of Rs 950 crore and would focus on technology development and dissemination.

An area selected for special attention in the proposed second phase of the NATP was post-harvest technology, he said. Once approval from the Planning Commission was received, the proposal would be forward to the World Bank for its support, he added.

Outlining the activities of the Costal Agro-ecosystem Directorate established under the aegis of the NATP, Dr Mehta said it currently operated over 50 projects in areas such as agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and so on.

This unit, which is based at the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram was also working on several `institution-village linkage programmes, he added.

An integrated pest management system for tackling the rhinoceros beetle in coconut and development of a new methodology for the estimation of the coconut mite population are some of the unit's successful projects.

The Costal Agro-ecosystem Directorate had also supported projects that had developed pellet feed for mud crabs, starter feed for ducklings and a low-cost feed for pigs, said Dr Mehta.

The first phase of the NATP, which is currently on, involves a total outlay of Rs 992 crore. Objectives of this initiative include the development of agricultural technology with inputs from farmers and dissemination of technological innovations.

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