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ICARDA joins forces with India for spineless cactus cultivation

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22 December 2023, New Delhi: ICARDA and India have signed an agreement (MoU) to promote spineless cactus cultivation, and its economic usages, with the Department of Land Resources (DoLR), Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, and SLNA, State Government of Rajasthan, Government of India.

On December 22, 2023, ICARDA  participated in a one-day National workshop titled ‘Cactus for Green Economy in Watershed Projects,’ organized by the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development. The workshop acted as a platform for exchanging knowledge and exploring the economic potential of spineless cactus cultivation.

During the workshop, Dr. Shiv Kumar Agrawal emphasized the significance of the collaborative initiative through the MoU, bringing together expertise and resources from various stakeholders at both national and international levels for inclusive rural development. He showcased ICARDA’s research and promotion efforts on cactus as an F5 crop* in India and highlighted the pioneering work in introducing spineless cactus in India and establishing a biogas digester at ICARDA-FLRP to generate biogas and biofertilizer from cactus and other benefits like food, fodder, and vegan leather.

Dr. Agarwal outlined to government officials from both central and state governments the economic advantages of cactus, urging them to expedite the promotion and adoption of cactus as an F5 crop that can enhance the livelihoods of rural farmers.

The signing of this MoU represents a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable agriculture and rural development. The collaborative efforts of ICARDA and the government entities involved pave the way for a thriving and inclusive agricultural sector, benefiting farmers and communities across the nation.

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