While expressing his concern over the slow pace of development of Sea-buckthorn in Himachal Pradesh, Governor Acharya Devvrat gave directions to the scientists of Agricultural University Palampur to
work with the coordination with the forest department, thereby developing this plant in the border area of the state which would help in increasing the income of the farmers. He said that scientific research should not be of any use till it is given a practical form.
The Governor was speaking as Chief Guest on the occasion of the National Conference on Sea-buckthorn, jointly organized by Sea-buckthorn Association of India, Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, Palampur and Himachal Pradesh State Biodiversity Board at Shimla today.
He said that work has been done on Sea-buckthorn since 1988 in the state and there have been many researches for which the scientists deserve appreciation but, due to the lack of practical approach the result was zero on the ground. In the year 1990, millions of rupees were spent under a project of the Government of India, but not much progress has been made. Referring to the development of this plant in other countries, he said that China has been producing nearly 250 products from Sea-buckthorn and making millions of dollars and even Pakistan was also ahead of us. Among the five-six states in which it has been developed, Himachal was also much behind. He regretted that due to lack of practical approach we were deprived of the production of this important plant.
Acharya Devvrat said that Sea-buckthorn has medicinal properties and there was a lot of demand in the market of its product. The soldiers deployed on the border could be protected from many diseases by its use, he said. He added that it could be the main means of livelihood to the farmers in remote areas and advised that it should be commercialized and asked to published its literature in the local language and to organize seminars in that area to motivate the people of that area.
Acharya Devvrat said that cold desert, spreading in 75000 sq.km. area in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and district of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi area of Chamba in Himachal and other temperate regions of Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, was a strategic zone of our country, as it was bordering with China and Pakistan. He said that the zone was a source of important rivers, therefore, GoI gives special importance for the environmental conservation and economic uplifting of rural economy and development of employment generation in the region. In addition, lack of industrialization in these regions has created socio-economic problems like lack of job opportunities and migration of youths, he added. He said that cultivation of Sea-buckthorn could meet the short term economic needs of the people of the region as well as long term environmental conservation.
He said that agencies like forest department and Horticulture must start massive cultivation on marginal and community lands empowering and involving local farmers and research organisations. “Considering the importance of this wonder plant, we need to quickly go head in proper formulation of policies, which facilitates the afforestation of Sea-buckthorn on the marginal lands, which can be used for the ecological rehabilitation as well as poverty alleviation in the region”, said Acharya Devvrat.
The Governor also released a book “New Age Herbals” written by Padmashree Dr. Brahma Singh, former Director, DRDO, Ministry of Defence. The Governor also honoured the scientists and others for their valuable contribution in the development of Sea-buckthorn.
Earlier, Dr. R.C. Sawhney, President, Sea-buckthorn Association of India welcomed the Governor on the occasion and said that near about 70 technical Institutions were working in developing this plant and it was cultivated in five states. He said that Leh area was known for its highest production and India has been established three species of it and added that today, 7 percent fruit juice captured by Sea-buckthorn. He also detailed the importance of this plant.
Dr. Tej Pratap Singh, Vice Chancellor, J.B. Pant Agriculture & Technology University, Pant Nagar also detailed out International scenario on Sea-buckthorn. He also gave power point presentation on promotional history of Sea-buckthorn. He said that the steps should be taken with reference to other countries to increase the pace of development of Sea-buckthorn.
Prof. Ashok Saryal, VC, Agriculture University, Palampur, Prof. Virender Singh, organizing secretary, SAI, Smt. Shubhra Banerjee, Senior Scientific Officer, HPCSTE, Shimla, scientists and other prominent people were also present on the occasion.>