Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), a unique institute of its own kind, caters to a wide spectrum of research and development issues in the field of agriculture and allied disciplines in an integrated manner for sustainable land use and diversified livelihood options for the inhabitants of arid regions of India. The institute owes its origin to Desert Afforestation Research Station (established 1952) for research on stabilization of sand dunes and establishment of shelterbelts. In 1957 it was reorganized as Desert Afforestation and Soil Conservation Station. In 1959 it was named as CAZRI and brought under the umbrella of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1966. Over five decades, CAZRI’s innovations have greatly improved rural livelihoods in hot arid regions (32 million ha area) of the country.
The current focus areas of the institute include generation of appropriate technologies that provide new growth opportunities and sustain natural resource base in the region. The research is being conducted on integrated resource survey and its monitoring in various sub regions, conservation of biodiversity, reducing land degradation and improving water management, livestock centric farming systems, bioremediation of problem soils, agroforestry and range management, mitigating effects of climate change, renewable energy use in agriculture, development of agricultural implements, value addition to plant and animal products. The agro-techniques are refined for specific situations for higher productivity and emerging areas in science like Nano applications and Biotechnology are being strengthened. The socio-economic and gender issues in the region always receive due attention and these cut across all the research areas. Recently, the cold arid regions of the country (16 million ha area) have been included in our research and development programmes.
In the present socio-economic setup and emerging opportunities in such regions, this institute is playing significant role through its research and development projects, initiatives leading to dissemination of its rich knowledge base and involvement in important advisory bodies involved in formulating enabling policies at central as well as state levels. It would be my endeavour to take this institute to greater heights in association with the dedicated team of scientists and other staff.
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Dr. R.K. Bhatt