Phase II Of Project To Promote Neem Launched

INDIA, February 21, 2007: New theme parks on Neem will be established in different parts of the country to promote the use of Neem based pesticides. These theme parks will act as Centers of Learning for the farmers and provide technical back up and material for promoting agro-based products for sustainable eco-friendly agriculture. The new theme parks will be located in Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and the North Eastern states. Launching the phase II of the Neem project, the secretary Department of Chemicals and petrochemicals Smt. Satwant Reddy said, Neem based pesticides will be promoted as a cost effective eco-friendly biodegradable alternative to chemical pesticides. She said, transfer of user friendly technology on the use of Neem, management of pesticide residues in plantation crops like tea, coffee and spices and to bring about wasteland development through plantation of Neem will be the objective of the second phase of the project launched today.

The program will also cover training of extension workers, farmers and agro industry personnel in the use of the technology. Organization of cooperatives for Neem seed collection and distribution at the village and Block level, holding field demonstrations on different crops for wider coverage and acceptance and establishment of small processing units near Neem seed collection centers will be some of the other activities in this phase.

Earlier inaugurating an international seminar on the occasion the Minister for Environment and Forests Shri A. Raja said Joint Forest Management Committees in the forest--fringe villages could be involved in promoting plantation of Neem trees. He said, the committees provide unique opportunity not only for large scale planting of Neem trees, but scientific harvesting of Neem produce, there value addition and marketing. The Minister said, good fieldwork carried out under the first phase of the Neem pesticides program has generated a great degree of interest about the uses of Neem as pesticide amongst farmers in the country.