October 26, 2016
Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office with Mr. Lalmalsawma, Chief Secretary, Government of Mizoram
New Delhi, October 26, 2016: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the Record of Discussions (R/D) with the Government of Mizoram to implement technical cooperation project titled "the Project on Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and irrigation Development in Mizoram (the Project)."
In Mizoram, rural poverty ratio is 35.4 %, which is higher than India's average of 25.7% (2011-2012). 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture even though the cultivable land is extremely limited as 70% of the land is located in the hilly area with more than 35° slope. As in many hilly areas in the region, a large farming population has traditionally been engaged in shifting cultivation (jhum). However, the rapid increase in the population has led to the shortening of the fallow period, which in turn prevents the jhum land to regain its productivity. The practice also causes the deforestation of the area.
Given this background, the Government of Mizoram and JICA implemented "the Study on Development and Management of Land and Water Resources for sustainable agriculture in Mizoram" from 2013 to 2015. As results of the study, a master plan for land and water resource development and management for sustainable agriculture was formulated and officially adopted as the road map of the Government of Mizoram for future agriculture and irrigation development in Mizoram.
Based on the Master Plan, the Project aims at enhancing sustainable agriculture and irrigation development in Mizoram. Bilkhawthlir (Kolasib district), Aibawk (Aizawl district), Serchhip (Serchhip district), and Champhai (Champhai district) in Mizoram have been identified as pilot Rural Development (RD) blocks targeted under the Project.
To achieve the above goal, the Project will ensure to enhance organizational capacity of the Government of Mizoram to promote sustainable agriculture and irrigation development through 1) developing methods which comprise implementing guidelines, officers' manuals, and training materials for farmers, 2) enhancing capacity of the state government officials in planning and implementation, and 3) establishing collaborative implementation framework among the state government departments for sustainable agriculture and irrigation development.
JICA will dispatch Japanese experts for assisting for development planning, irrigation and O&M, farmers' organization, food crop cultivation technologies, cash crop cultivation technologies, farm management and marketing, land use and resources management, and environmental and social considerations. The Project will also address gender empowerment by facilitating women's participation into planning and implementation process. Trainings in Japan are also planned.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office said, "It gives me immense pleasure to announce this new engagement with the Government of Mizoram in continuation with our previous successful study. The ultimate goal to be achieved under the Project shall be uplifting the farmers' income. To achieve this goal, farmers-oriented comprehensive support based on collaboration among the state government departments is required, since issues facing farmers are diverse and complicated. Under the strong leadership of higher authorities of esteemed state government, I believe that a collaborative implementation framework among the state government departments can be established under the Project and we can continue to cultivate further success of the Project, so that recipients/farmers can improve the standard of living. Further, I also believe that sustainable agriculture and irrigation development promoted under the Project can contribute in reduction of shifting cultivation, which results in better food security and environmental conservation."
In the past, JICA has provided an ODA Loan for "Tuirial Hydro-Electric Power Station Project" to improve the energy situation in the state by constructing an earth-fill dam and a hydroelectric power plant on the Tuirial River, near the village of Saipun in Aizawl District in Mizoram. JICA has dispatched a Junior Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (Nurse) to Mission Foundation Movement in Aizawl, Mizoram. Recently, in March 2016, the Exchange of Notes (E/N) was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Japan for "North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project (Phase I) (I)" and JICA will provide the ODA Loan once the Government of India's procedures are fulfilled for improving road transport and connectivity.
On March 31 2016 and JICA is working on to start the Project for improving the road connectivity through strengthening the existing national highway network in a part of Mizoram.
Established, by a specific law, as an independent administrative institution under the Government of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation, as a sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation. JICA is the world's biggest bilateral donor agency. JICA works as a bridge between Japan and emerging countries, and provides assistance in forms of loan, grant and technical cooperation so that the emerging countries can strengthen their capabilities.