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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Partnership between ICAR-CIBA and Karam Chand Thapar (KCT) group established Community Development Centres to support brackishwater farmers in the country. The Second state-of-the-art aquaculture laboratory inaugurated at Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh on 12.09.2018.

The Karam Chand Thapar (KCT) group in collaboration with ICAR-CIBA, Chennai established Community Development Centre for Learning, Livelihood and Research (CDC-LLR) at Bhimavaram, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh (AP). The farmers community centre and state-of-the-art aquaculture diagnostic laboratory, the second in AP was inaugurated on 12th September 2018 by Dr.K.K.Vijayan, Director, CIBA in the presence of Shri.P.Koteeswara Rao, Additional Director of Fisheries, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Shri.Ramakanth V.Akula, CEO, the Waterbase Limited (TWL), Ms.Shomasree Dey, Head of CSR, KCT group. Large number of farmers, scientists, officials, input dealers and other stakeholders gathered at the centre, and took notice of the novel facility. In the welcome speech, Ms.Shomasree Dey highlighted the objective of this initiative that the partnership brings quality diagnostic services to the farming community at affordable rates, subsidised by KCT. Shri.P.Koteeswara Rao, Additional Director of Fisheries, Andhra Pradesh thanked KCT and CIBA for establishing the lab at Bhimavaram which is one of the aquaculture hubs in Andhra Pradesh. Prevention of diseases is the better option in aquaculture for that diagnostic labs are very important he observed. He appreciated the role of CIBA in providing standard operating protocols and novel diagnostics to the lab and hailed the model of corporate research partnership in delivering quality diagnostic services to the farmers. Mr Ramakanth Akula in his address emphasized that the strategic partnership with CIBA is a natural alliance to serve the aqua farmers without any commercial interest, and the next lab will be established in the state of Gujarat, followed by West Bengal. He called upon the farmers to make use of this diagnostic service centre to manage their farms efficiently for sustainable production.

Dr.K.K.Vijayan in his inaugural address highlighted that CSR partnership with research institutions such as CIBA could benefit farmers in getting access to quality and affordable diagnostic services, required for aquafarming. He articulated that, novel diagnostics such as cost effective real-time PCR kits to screen WSSV and EHP etc. would be available at this lab to provide quality results. This is the better-fit model to bridge the gap between the research institutions and their client farmers he added. Reach out to the farmers and have dialogue with them through ICT modes is an efficient approach and CIBA has already launched Vanami Shrimpapp, a mobile app for this purpose and results of the diagnostic services could be sent through this app he expressed. CIBA has also developed a system to issue soil and water health cards to the farmers through the KCT labs, few farmers of Bhimavaram region received soil and water health card on this occasion. During the interaction farmers raised queries on disease prevention, diversification, market and crop rotation and were clarified by the scientists and officials. Dr.M.Muralidhar, Principal Scientist and Scientist-in-charge, Environment Division and Dr.M.Kumaran, Principal Scientist from Social Science Division of CIBA coordinated the programme with KCT group.

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