Bhubaneswar:  With Odisha government seeking cooperation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for promoting organic farming and other activities, the UN body today formed a joint committee to identify specific areas of collaboration between the two.

The joint committee was formed under chairmanship of Satya S Tripahy, senior advisor of the 2030-Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Joint Committee would give a formal shape to the possible collaboration and would carry forward the negotiations between UNEP and Odisha government.

From the state government side, it was decided to constitute the team under chairmanship of Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan with Principal Secretary Agriculture Monoj Ahuja and Principal Secretary Finance Tuhin Kanta Pandy as members.

This was decided at a meeting between the UNEP team and the state government officials under chairmanship of chief secretary A P Padhi.

A ten member delegation team of UNEP led by its Executive Director, Erik Solheim held elaborate discussions with senior officers of the state government on possible areas of collaboration.

Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sought the UNEP's cooperation for resource conservation, reduce impact of climate change and promote organic farming in the state.

The state government officials and the UNEP team members discussed on achieving sustainable development through application of green technology, scaling up of solar energy, organic farming, and traditional agricultural potential.

The traditional horticultural products of Odisha like turmeric, ginger, and maize also figured in the discussion.

The agriculture department mentioned that this year organic farming of millets has been introduced among 14,000 farmers in the State.

"The experience of maize cultivation in Odisha under green revolution initiatives was shared in the meeting. It was pointed out that maize alone had around Rs 1000 crore of market worth," said agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja.

Chief Secretary Padhi emphasised upon creating appropriate marketing mechanism for farmers so that they would take interest in production of the defined food grains and millets.