Inaugural Speech by the Chief Minister of Assam
NAIP Sub Projects
Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat – 785 013, Assam
Venue: College of veterinary Science, AAU, Khanapara, Guwahati
Date: 20th December, 2008
Mr. Vice Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University, Dr. B. C. Bhowmick, Minister
for Agriculture, Minister for Veterinary and Minister for Fisheries, National Director of
NAIP Dr. Mrithyunjay, Concerned National Coordinators of NAIP, Dr. A. P. Srivastava and
Dr. J. P. Mittal, former Vice Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University Dr. S. S. Baghel,
Scientists and Teachers of Assam Agricultural University and friends. I am really proud to
know that Assam Agricultural University has won two subprojects under the prestigious
National Agricultural Innovation Project.
The economy of Assam as observed from the estimates of SDP was encouraging and
better than before. According to an advance estimate, the economy of Assam in terms of
GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) was expected to attain 7.97 percent growth in 2007-08
at constant prices of 1999-2000 against the growth of 7.57 per cent in the previous year.
The per capita income was expected to rise up to Rs.22,081 at current price against
the previous year’s per capita income of Rs.20,166. Assam’s BPL population has fallen to
19.7 per cent in 2004-05 compared to 36.09 per cent in 1999-2000 and 40.86 per cent in
1993-94 as against all India figures for the same are 27.50 per cent in 2004-05, 26.10 per cent
in 1999-2000 and 35.97 per cent in 1993-94, respectively. Poverty ratio in the state has been
recorded less than that of Tamilnadu (22.5%), Karnatka (25.0%), Maharastra (30.7%), West
Bengal (24.7%) and Pondicherry (22.4%) for the same year under reference.
However, growth of the primary sector in the state is not much encouraging. The
Agriculture including livestock and fisheries, on which livelihood of 80 per cent people
depends, was expected to exhibit a growth of only 3.00 per cent. Hence, research on
sustainable rural livelihood security needs serious attention of the researchers.
The planning commission of India has listed five districts viz., Dhemaji, Lakhimpur,
Kokrajhar, Karbi Anglong and N C Hills in the 150 disadvantaged districts of India. I am
happy that the Assam Agricultural University has taken up research on sustainable rural
livelihood security in three disadvantaged districts of the state. The Assam Agricultural
University along with its six consortium partners from ICAR, Govt. of Assam and NGOs
have won a subproject entitled ‘Livelihood promotion through Integrated Farming System in
Assam’ under competitive mode which will be implemented in Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar and
‘Sustainable rural livelihoods’ has been increasingly central to the debate on rural
development, poverty reduction and environmental management. The term ‘sustainable
livelihoods’ relates to a wide set of issues encompassing much of the broader debate on the
relationships between poverty and environment. The most acceptable definition sustainable
livelihoods includes five key elements viz., (i) Creation of working days, (ii) Poverty
reduction, (iii) Well-being and capabilities, (iv) Livelihood adaptation, vulnerability and
resilience, and (v) Natural resource base sustainability. The first three elements focus on
livelihoods, linking concerns over work and employment with poverty reduction with broader
issues of adequacy, security, well-being and capability and the last two elements add the
sustainability dimension, looking, in turn, at the resilience of livelihoods and the natural
I am sure that the scientists involved in the project shall employ an appropriate
methodology for investigating the rural livelihoods in the project area of relevant districts.
They will be able to find out and recommend a framework, in the present context of policy
setting, politics, history, agro-ecology, and socio-economic conditions as to (i) what
combination of livelihood resources shall be appropriate to follow (ii) what combination of
livelihood strategy with what outcomes. Institutional process, which mediate the ability to
carry out such strategy and achieve or don’t achieve such outcomes shall be of special
interest. With the emphasis on both livelihood resources and outcomes, as well as
institutional processes, multiple entry points for development interventions is expected from
this type of projects. In stead of transfer of technology and skill, it is expected that the
framework will focus on getting the institutional and organizational setting rights with
emphasis on both formal and informal mechanisms.
If the development objective is to create and sustain livelihoods; farm & off-farm
activities, migration, remittances, and rural-urban linkages have to be looked in totality.
Policies for sustainable livelihoods must cut across the conventional divides of bureaucracy
and professional specialization. Such an approach will improve the effectiveness of
conventional interventions and extending the range of options across livelihood strategies.
I hope the Assam Agricultural University will be successful in implementation of the
projects and will bring out a model framework of sustainable livelihood, which will be
replicable in other parts of the state.
Value addition to agricultural and livestock products is equally important for
economic development of farmers and the state as well. I am glad that the university has also
initiated another subproject entitled ‘Value Chain on Novelty Pork Products under Organized
Pig Farming System’ under the NAIP.
About 95% of the indigenous people of the North Eastern Region of India are meat
eaters. The preferential choice of the indigenous people towards meat is perhaps due to the
fact that they are genetically deficient in iron and consumption of meat facilitates absorption
of iron by three times. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Govt. of India, estimated
a loss of Rs. 1,500 crores per annum to the National GDP, which is attributed to iron
deficiency in the people of North Eastern India.
Meat production scenario is alarming in the state. The state produces 0.03 million T
meat against the requirement of 0.29 million T. The meat production programmes in the state
do not encompass the entire gamut of activities like production, processing, value addition
and marketing together with public health assurance. Majority of the tribes in Assam
traditionally rear pigs. But they are not aware of the recent technologies of pig rearing and
pork processing. This has impeded the development of piggery in the state.
The new concept of production-to-consumption system in pig production and
processing will help augment development of piggery sector in the state as a remunerative
enterprise. Until now, the state does not have a modern pig slaughterhouse and processing
infrastructure. This project shall definitely help in enhancing the farmers’ knowledge base on
I congratulate the Scientists who have won the projects and wish them all the best in
their endeavour. I thank Dr. Mangala Ray, Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE,
Govt. of India; his colleagues Dr. Mrithyunjay, National Director of NAIP, Dr. A. P.
Srivastava and Dr. J. P. Mittal, National Coordinators of NAIP for granting these two mega
projects for Assam. I also thank Dr. S. S. Baghel, former Vice Chancellor of Assam
Agricultural University under whose leadership the projects were designed.
Finally I declare the projects inaugurated.
Date: 20th December, 2008 (Tarun Gogoi)
Chief Minister, Assam