Last week, the Ambassador of Norway to India, Mr. Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, visited the state of Assam. In Guwahati, the Ambassador called on Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the Governor of Assam Jagdish Mukhi, the Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Atul Bora, as well as other politicians to learn more about Assam and discuss potential areas of collaboration between our countries. He also met with academia and other civil society actors, who provided useful insights into the dynamics of the state.
The visit took the Ambassador on a drive through the lush rice paddies, forests and tea plantations of Assam, from Guwahati to Jorhat, passing by the Kaziranga national park, well known for its success in the conservation of one-horned rhinoceros. While no rhino could be spotted from the car window this time, some water buffalos and swamp deer were seem grazing by the road. The drive included a stop-over in Golaghat, where the ambassador received a warm, traditional welcome by village residents. He was treated to traditional music and dances, and was introduced to the techniques and resources used by the farmers for fishing, food- and silk production. Agriculture is a key sector in Assam, which engages around 65 % of the population.
Combatting climate change is a key priority for the Norwegian government. On the last day of his visit, the Ambassador participated, together with Minister Bora, in the launch of a climate resilience project at the Assam Agricultural University. The project aims to build resilience of smallholders to prevent and adopt to climate change, which is increasingly affecting the development of the state. The project combines research and practical, real-life application to increase impact, and is based on a Norwegian-Indian partnership involving the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy and Research (NIBIO) the Assam Agricultural University, Odisha University for Agriculture & Technology, National Rice Research Institute, M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation and International Water Management Institute.
Mr. Atul Bora, Minister of Agriculture, Ambassador Kamsvåg and Mr. Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, Director for Centre for International Development, NIBIO, Norway.
The Ambassador concluded his visit with a tour of the university and a visit to the Tocklai Tea Research Institute (TTRI), the oldest tea research institute in the world. In addition to testing his tea-tasting skills, the visit gave the Ambassador first-hand insights into the impact and vulnerability on climatic changes on one of the key agricultural sectors in Assam, tea production, as well as ways to mitigate the challenges.
The Ambassador’s visit was also picked up by several big news stations. Newspapers such as The Sentinel Assam, Northeast Now or APN News all wrote about the visit. Head on over to their pages to read more about the various meetings in Assam.