Japan help to greening – Horticulture scheme awaits nod from govts

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, Feb. 19: The Japan International Cooperation Agency will implement the second phase of its greenhouse community service here as soon as it gets the clearance from the governments of both the countries.

The first phase of the Jica-funded programme — implemented by Dr Graham’s Homes and Miyazaki International Volunteer Center (MIVC), a Japanese NGO — ended in November. It was aimed to improve the economic condition of local farmers by providing them technical know-how and logistical support.

“The cost of the second phase — regional horticultural promotion programme — is three crore Japanese yen,” said Irigaki Hidetoshi, the chief representative of the Jica in India. The three-year-long programme will give training and develop marketing networks for horticulture.

In the first phase, a central greenhouse was set up at Homes and similar smaller units were built for farmers. Besides, the farmers were given seedlings for free. In all, about 60 farming households in Santook, Paiyong, Dungra, Pudung and Monchu benefited from the scheme.

“Thanks to the programme, we now grow flowers like statice and globe amaranth apart from producing maize and rice,” said Jonathan Rai, a farmer in Santook, 25km from here. “We have been able to supplement our income,” said Sylvester Lepcha, another farmer.

The visiting Jica team comprising Hidetoshi and Yukiko IItsuka, the coordinator of the NGO-Jica Japan Desk in Delhi, were happy with the implementation of the project. “I am happy with the result,” said Hidetoshi.

Even though there has been a gap between the end of the first phase and the start of the second, both Homes and the MIVC said they would continue supporting the farmers in the intervening period.

“We will continue with our work. Apart from providing seedlings and technical support, we also help the farmers market their produce. All these will continue,” said Prabir S. Rajwar, a coordinator.

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