Central Island Agriculture Research Institute
Important Announcements:
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

From Director Desk

Director Photograph      Andaman & Nicobar group of Islands in Bay of Bengal is well known for its unique biodiversity and unexplored flora and fauna which have created interest at National and International level. The Islands have about 50000 ha under all the agricultural crops with major area of over 20000 ha under coconut. The territory has major coast line highlighting the importance of fisheries. The endemic diverse flora having horticultural importance, unique breeds of domestic animals such as Nicobari fowl, Nicobari pig, Teressa goat sustaining the livelihood of tribal population, diverse settler communities & tribal population and their food needs, unique topography posing challenges to sustain the fragile production systems are the topic of interest among the researchers. The AgriHort-Fish and Animal based farming system of the Islands has enormous potential for providing livelihood options and can play a significant role in supporting agro-tourism based economy. The Lakshadweep islands

          During the last forty years of its vibrant existence, the Institute has contributed significantly to reduce the gap between requirement and local production of different commodities through research and development. The contribution of local production to the requirement has risen during last thirty years (1980-2010) from 25% to 50% for rice, pulses from insignificant to 20%, tropical fruits from 40% to 100%, flowers from insignificant to 25%, vegetables from 20% to 80% except potato and onion, milk from 20% to 70%, eggs from 25% to 90%, chicken from 10% to 100% and inland fishes from 10% to 90%. Since there has been no significant increase in the land area under cultivation, the increase has mainly come from technological interventions in which the institute has significantly contributed.

The institute has taken efforts to showcase achievement and to refine the research efforts through various activities such as interactive meetings, seminars, conferences, group meetings, training programmes, field visits, field days and several other e-initiatives. The Institute is also organizing entrepreneurship development programmes, skill development programmes and deonstartions on various aspects of agriculture. With the guidance and support from the Horticulture Science Division of ICAR under the dynamic leadership of Dr. A.K. Singh, DDG (Horticulture), ICAR, New Delhi, the Institute is looking forward to further the progress to newer heights.

During the journey of over four decades, the Institute has made significant accomplishments which includes development of forty one crop varieties (coconut, arecanut, noni, vegetables, rice and other crops), dual purpose Nicobari fowl and achieved successful captive breeding of Sebae anemone fish (Amphiprion sebae), Skunk anemone fish (Amphiprion akallopisos), Red Saddle anemone fish (Amphiprion ephippium) in ANI. New crops namely unique, high value ornamental cut foliage fern (Rumohra adiantiformis), Pepper wood (Piper ribesioides) as a new spice crop were identified and two rice varieties (CIARI Dhan 1 and 5) were notified for these Islands. Pemphis acidula Forst. (Lythraceae) a species of mangrove was rediscovered after a lapse of 91 years. Forty four sponges species reported for the first time. Zebra fish (Danio rerio), Yellow Snapper (Lutjanus xanthospinnis) Oceallated shrimp goby (Tomiamichthys russus), marine goby Amblygobius phaleana were reported for the first time from the Islands. Two new species of fishes Gymnothorax andamanensis and Channa royi was described adding new information to aquatic sciences. Three new species of fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata, B. correcta and B. caudata and a rodent Bandicota bengalensis was reported as new records from Andaman Islands. Custodian farmers and communities of biodiversity conservation and utilization in A & NIslands were identified for Andaman Coconut, Nicobari Aloo, Khoon Phal, Blue mango, Noni, Khushbayya rice, Black Burma, Mushley, Nyawin, White Burma, Nicobari fowl, Nicobari pig and Teressa goat are recognized for the first time.

The Institute for the farming community has also facilitated Plant Genome Saviour Community Award of Rs.10 lakh each to Karen community for conservation of unique landraces of rice and to the Nicobari tribe for Nicobari Aloo (Dioscorea alata) by PPV & FRA, New Delhi. Besides this, Breed conservation award for conservation of Nicobari Pig and Nicobari Fowl to Tribal Council, Car Nicobar and ICAR-CIARI by ICAR-NBAGR, Karnal were received. The Institute has developed linkages with several ICAR Institutes, SAUs, line departments, commodity boards and undertaking collaborative research projects including AICPRs on several crops and animals. The unexplored parts of the Island territory has been explored with the collaboration with different crop based Institutes and several unique germplasm accessions have been collected and conserved. Recently during 2018, a joint exploration and collection mission targeting horticulturally important crop wild relatives from Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar and Nancowrie group of Islands has yielded 213 important wild/cultivated horticulturally important plant species were collected out of which more than 24 new records of these plants being investigated. The Institute has developed number of production technologies for several horticultural crops, identified suitable varieties of vegetables and fruits through evaluation, standardized methods for organic farming, soil and water conservation, post harvest techniques. Production technologies for imporatht flower and ornamental crops have been standardized for Island conditions. Recently, a technology for open field cultivation of Arachnis flosaeris (Spider Orchid) for year round production was standardized.

Five unique rice land races (Black Burma, Khushbayya, White Burma, Mushley and Nyaw-in) grown by Karen community of North & Middle Andaman got registered as farmers’ varieties by PPVFRA, New Delhi. Hay, haylage and silage production technology for rice fodder from C-14-8 variety was developed. Under NICRA-CGP project, performance of coconut + banana and other arable crops in tsunami affected lands were evaluated under different land shaping methods. Phenotypic and molecular characterization of Andaman local duck is the first report from India and also the genetic root of Trinket cattle beside whole mitochondrial DNA of Andaman Buffalo has been sequenced and characterized. Case study revealed that Noni cultivation across A & N Islands for avocation in challenged areas after Tsunami 2004 has increased from 18 ha to 97 ha under single firm, fetching a BC ratio of 1.39. Under Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav,a total of 35 villages are adopted across South Andaman districts . The registered farmers on mKISAN portal has reached to 10,708 in 2018, wherein SMS based agro-advisories are sent on every Tuesday and Friday both in Hindi and English. First private spawn production unit (M/s. Mahalasa Pvt. Ltd) with women entrepreneur has started under the technical guidance of the Institute at South Andaman. One hundred four agromet advisory bulletins in English and Hindi were issued through print and electronic media. Six hundred and nine SMS based agro-advisories were sent on every Tuesday and Friday in Hindi and English. Policy Brief’s on the development of open sea cage culture, marine fisheries sector of the Island, strategies for development of agriculture and allied sectors in A& Nicobar and Lakshadweep group of Islands and EDP on coconut was prepared and shared among the stakeholders.

Umbrella memorandum of understanding has been signed between ICAR-CIARI and West Bengal University of Agriculture & Fisheries Science, Kolkata, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswa Vidyalaya, Nadia, Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa Fisheries University, Chennai and Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneshwar for the purpose of conducting research related to the thesis requirement of the students who are pursing MVSC/MFSC/PhD programme from the Island and Mainland. The remarkable impact has been made through transfer and adoption of the technologies viz., High Density Multi- species Cropping System, Integrated farming system, Broad Bed and Furrow system, Homestead based Integrated farming system for tribal's, Protected cultivation, Seed village to provide truthfully labelled seeds of rice, HYVs of rice, satellite fish nursery for production of fresh water IMC seeds, composite fish culture, mud crab fattening, Nicobari fowl & Pekin duck under backyard, water users association, weather based agromet advisories, potential fishing zone forecasts and micro business modules. Besides, the restoration of degraded areas through different livelihood options and land shaping interventions and target programmes for the tribals has brought visible impact on increase in production, productivity and improvement in livelihood.

The Institute envisions to carry forward the Research and Development activities in Horticulture sector complemented with Field crops, plant health management, Fisheries, Animal husbandry, Natural Resource Management, social sciences and to undertake dissemination of appropriate technologies to the stakeholders through KVKs, line departments for betterment of Island Agriculture.