From the Director's Desk
I am happy and proud to say that the ICAR-NRCB has done exceptionally well in responding to the constraints and limitations posed by Covid-19 and bagged the prestigious Sardar Patel Award for Outstanding Research Institute for 2020 under small institute category. The award was presented during the ICAR Foundation Day ceremony on 16.6.21 by the Honorable Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar. It has been a challenging time for India and the entire world due to the Covid-19 pandemic and India has just emerged from the second wave with the likelihood of a possible third wave. In this scenario, the award has come as a recognition and testimony to the efforts of the NRCB in serving the banana farmers and stakeholders in the face of hitherto unforeseen restrictions on finances, travel and other resources. It is all the more impressive that the research achievements of NRCB in 2020-21 have come with strict adherence to the policy directions and guidelines issued by the Government of India in the wake of Covid-19.
I am happy to inform that the NRCB has been awarded prestigious new projects from international and national organizations including IITA / Gates Foundation, PMFME-ABI, NABARD and ICAR in diverse areas including development of biofortified transgenic bananas, precision farming and online trading platforms for banana farmers and FPOs. NRCB’s leadership has been recognized by many accolades including the NAAS fellowship and Prem Dureja Endowment award. The NRCB has a 100% track record in HRD and is ranked among the best ICAR institutes.
The year 2021 has been designated as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables by the UN General Assembly. The Centre sees it as a great opportunity to raise the awareness of the public on the vital role played by fruits and vegetables in ensuring nutritional security and health. Bananas and plantains are the most affordable and all-season vegetables and fruits for the masses and the centre has been striving to come out with innovative and novel techniques to promote the use of banana-based products besides fresh produce in achieving nutritional security. The NRCB has provided technical knowhow and training in value addition and promotion of entrepreneurship in banana-based enterprises and empowered youth, farmers and other stakeholders. In this regard, I wish to mention the banana flour-based product development in Karnataka that has given livelihood opportunities to many farmers’ groups, particularly Women’s groups.
The NRCB has been playing a vital role in identifying and recognizing farmers, entrepreneurs, FPOs and other stakeholders in banana production and other enterprises. During the 28th Foundation Day celebrated on 21.8.21, 12 awards were presented to banana farmers, FPOs and technology disseminating units from different parts of the country for their contribution. A national webinar was also organised by the Centre on its 28th Foundation day with the theme “Banana value chain, marketing: New business horizons”. In the webinar, experts from M/sWaycool foods, Chennai, Nutrihub of ICAR IIMR, ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai and Agrinnovate of ICAR shared their views and experiences benefitting the banana stakeholders. The NRCB organized a hackathon to suggest innovative and feasible ideas in banana production, processing and marketing with enthusiastic participation from students, researchers. In this COVID time, the scientists of the Centre have also published more than 20 research articles in journals with high impact factor. I am happy to say that the NRCB has brought out technical bulletins showcasing the technologies of ICAR-NRCB suitable for startups and the various schemes and subsidies provided by the Government of India for the benefit of potential entrepreneurs. I assure you that the NRCB and its staff will work with renewed vigour in the coming years to live up to the expectations of banana farmers and stakeholders.


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