The Division of Natural Resource Management has been engaged in development of sustainable resource management strategies and technologies for the tropical island ecosystem of Andaman & Nicobar. Initially Division of crop production, soil conservation and water management (CSW) was formed in 1984 with a view to address the issues concerning crop production, soil and water. Later a separate division of agricultural engineering and post harvest technology was created. In order to address the emerging challenges in resource management in a integrated manner, division of agricultural engineering and post harvest technology was merged with Division of CSW and agro-forestry was included to form Division of Natural Resource Management in 1999.
Since then the Division of NRM has been focussing on development of appropriate technologies and methods for conservation of natural resources and their sustainable use; improve the productivity and profitability of the agri-horticultural system by developing appropriate agro techniques; and post harvest technology and value addition.
In Andaman and Nicobar Islands agricultural land is limited in supply and the ecosystem is fragile. Thus productivity of crop and land can be increased with the help of green technologies suitable for the socio-economic milieu of the island farmers. Hence sustainable management of natural resources is vital for agricultural development with positive growth and long term sustainability. In recent times we are also confronted with climate change, land degradation, ground water imbalances, drought like situation during dry months, impaired soil health and low productivity of the farming system. Accordingly the Division of NRM was reoriented to address these challenges.
Efficient resource use and farm productivity enhancement through integrated farming systems approach
Management of soil health and development of sustainable land management practices
Assessment and management of post harvest losses in important crops and their value addition
Assessment of climate change and agricultural vulnerability of A&N Islands for developing climate resilient resource conserving technologies
Infrastructure and Analytical facility
The division has established required infrastructure and instrument facilities to conduct lab and field trials, analysis of soil, plant and water, biochemical analysis, soil biology and post harvest processing.
Field trials: Facilities for research are available at Bloomsdale research farm for low land condition, Sippighat for undulating and high land and Garacharma research complex for farming system studies in upland condition.
Protected cultivation: The division has established a protected cultivation structure to carryout green house studies on water and nutrient management, growing media, bioconsortia, bio-stimulant etc.
Chemical analysis laboratory: The division of NRM is well equipped with state of art instruments (pH, EC, Flame photometer, spectrophotometer, nitrogen distillation unit, digester chamber, centrifuge, shakers, laminar flow chamber, DGGE, PCR etc.), glassware and other consumables to conduct soil, plant and water analysis for chemical composition as well as quality parameters.
Post harvest processing: Facilities have been created for development of minimally processed food, shrink film and vacuum packaging, drying of plantation crop products and milling of cereals.
In addition to this software and hardware facilities are available for climate change studies, remote sensing data processing and GIS application.
The division has been providing analytical services for soil, plant and water to different stakeholders on nominal rates. Interested persons can contact The Director / The Head, NRM, ICAR-CIARI, Port Blair to avail these services.
Processing equipments and methods:
Solar dryer made using local materials which saved 33% time in comparison to open sun drying of coconut, black pepper, mushroom, green chillies, jack fruit pulp and fish. The maximum temperature recorded in drying chamber was 60°C.
In order to reduce the drudgery and risk involved in coconut dehusking, hand and pedal operated coconut dehusker were designed and developed. The dehusking capacity was observed at 130, 72 and 168 nut/hr for pedal, hand operated dehusker and local tool respectively. In general, bending cycle stress was experienced after dehusking of 80-90 nuts by sabbal, 120-130 nuts by hand operated and 150-160 nuts by pedal operated dehusker.
A solar dryer with separate drying and collector unit was designed and evaluated. It is used for drying of coconut and spices under island condition and the maximum temperature reaches upto 70oC. This uses solar light for drying, running the humidifier and fan. It has a battery and dual facility to use electricity to heat the drying chamber during heavy rainfall. The solar dryer is developed by public-private partnership mode.
Value-added products in local produce especially noni was developed and capacity building done for promotion of post-harvest technology (PHT) and associated opportunities.
Technology dissemination and outreach programmes
The sea water intrusion into agricultural lands during Tsunami resulted in the salinization and degradation of coastal land and water. Various land shaping activities were initiated and implemented through National Agricultural Innovation Project in four selected clusters spread across Andaman Islands. A total of 220 acre degraded land was restored through permanently raised beds, paired beds, farm pond with broader dykes, paddy-fish, 3-tier farming, ridges and furrow etc. The assessment revealed climate resilience of these methods against waterlogging, drought, salinity etc.,
Under Farmers Participatory Action Research Programme I and II, different water resource development and utilization methods / technologies such as Tank-Well combination, Micro irrigation, Pond and land based integrated farming system, Broad Bed and Furrow system etc. have been demonstrated at 100 farmer’s field across the islands. The assessment of the technologies revealed increase in water and crop productivity, farm income and livelihood security.
Homestead based IFS model for enhancing nutritional security of the tribal was demonstrated at 36 tribal farmers’ field. The evaluation indicated enhanced consumption of fruits and vegetables while tuber intake has decreased.
Integrated Agromet Advisory Services (GKMS) was started at CIARI in April 2008 with the collaboration from IMD, Pune. Under this medium range weather forecast is received from IMD is used for generating agro-advisories in multi-lingual on different aspects of agriculture to minimise the production losses and enhance the input use efficiency. The basic aim is to aid the farmers in informed decision making. The advisory is disseminated through SMS, AIR, DD, News papers, KVK, RKC, personal contact, line departments and social media.
Package of practices
Agricultural production guide for Nicobar Islands
Multipurpose fodder trees in IFS
Organic inputs for vegetable cultivation
Rice cultivation by direct sowing
The Division NRM has provided consultancy services on land and water management; water resource development, district irrigation planning, crop planning and entrepreneur development (FPO) to different stakeholders. This service is available on any aspects of agricultural resource management as per the ICAR guidelines on consultancy services.