Salesian university to help poor farmers
Sept. 1, 2013
The Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) is planning to open a research unit for medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) at its campus to help in the income generation of poor farmers. The move comes at a time when medicinal and aromatic plants are vanishing in Assam today and to cultivate and market them is no more a lucrative proposal. In a bid to create avenues for villagers living around Tapesia Tea Garden on the outskirts of Guwahati city, ADBU would open a MAP research unit on its permanent campus at Tapesia.
The ADBU Department of Social Sciences at Azara with the help of social work students has already started studying the needs of the population, mostly tribal, living around the university's permanent campus spread over 496 acres of tea plantation. "Our plan is to generate employment in and around the area where ADBU's permanent campus is coming up. We will encourage the local people living in the area and engaged in traditional farming to begin cultivate medicinal herbs and aromatic plants,” says ADBU Vice-Chancellor Fr. Stephen Mavely. “We will also create avenues for these villagers to sell their products and it can help in a big way to change the economic scenario for the benefit of the villagers," he said. To make full use of these projects and facilities, the university has chalked out plans to open a “full-fledged food processing technology department and plant, as well as courses on tea technology and biotechnology with a strong accent on research.”
"Medicinal plants will be planted in Tapesia and their applications will be lab tested. Locals of the area will also be involved in this plantation project in their homes, which will later be made available to drug companies," the priest said. "Our teams have started interacting with the villagers for resource mapping. The aim is to utilize the local resources for the benefit of people by increasing productivity," says director of Don Bosco Institute of Social Sciences, Riju Sharma.
There is immense potential in the Tapesia area also for fruit cultivation such as orange, banana, guavas, coconut, lemons, mango, a member of the social work team said. "We have earmarked 250 acres of land on the university premises for tea plantation, and in the coming months full scale organic and red tea production is expected,” Fr. Mavely said.
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