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There Is More Than Tea In India's Assam

Monday, 15th January 2018
Amb. Grace Akello getting samples and learning about packaging of Assam Organic teas
Uganda was among six diplomatic missions accredited to New Delhi, whose ambassadors traveled to the 5th Assam International Agri - Horticultural Show at  Dibrugh, the capital of Assam State in Eastern India. The Show was jointly organized by  the State of Assam and the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; whose eastern India branch, Mr M K Saharia briefed the envoys on its inception and its programmes to-date. Most exhibitors at the early January Show came from different areas of Indian agro - industry including: manufacturers of agricultural and agro - processing machinery; seed manufacturers and traders; irrigation industry, as well as specialized institutions of agriculture. In the latter category Assam University of Agriculture stood out with its slogan of 'doubling farmers' incomes by 2022'. The Show also attracted many international exhibitors including Polar Genetics, a swine-breeding company, producing purebred and pedigree pigs in Canada. Polar Genetics has supplied pigs' semen and provided other soft technologies to a number of States in India.

The Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, underlined the critical role that agriculture plays in India and in his State in particular. In his warm welcome address to the six diplomats and other foreign guests attending the Show, Sonowal invited them to visit as many exhibition stands as possible in order to see ways in which his State was promoting agriculture as a key factor in food security and also income-generation among his people. He put the sustainability of agricultural production and productivity within the context of today's global challenges of climate change. Given this challenge, he emphasized that any agricultural system must be in tandem with a viable ecological system.

The Show was of great interest to Uganda in view of her drive for a more productive agricultural sector, as the key to rural transformation. This is because it brought together manufacturers and distributors of agricultural technology including irrigation technology: all the essential elements for mechanization of agriculture. In the specific field of opening up greater land acreages, a wide range of tractors was on display, some of whose size and price were far beyond the pockets of most Ugandan farmers. Others, like, VST Tillers Tractors Ltd, had three-to-four cylinder multi-purpose tractors at affordable prices. These relatively small-bodied tractors can perform many functions apart from just ploughing the land. They can be fitted with such additional functional farming tools as cultivators, seed planters, tillers, weeders etc.

Uganda's interest in Assam was equally given to the Region's tea-growing sector. Accordingly the Uganda team, consisting of the High Commissioner and Ms Preeti Gupta, visited Dikom Tea Estate, in the company of the Chairperson India Tea Board, Mr Prabhat Bedboruah; touring its gardens and its tea-factory. At the Upper Assam Advisory Center run by India's Tea Research Association, the Uganda team interacted with top tea-soil researchers who expressed keenness to collaborate with Ugandan researchers in soils and other areas of interest in tea.