Buyers seller meet is the need to develop food processing in Arunachal

Itanagar

Tax & Excise Parliamentary Secretary Tapuk Taku today exhorted  ASSSOCHAM  to conduct a survey in Arunachal Pradesh to identify high production areas, find out sellers-buyers meeting points to help farmers to get remunerative prices for their produces.

He advocated to setup networking between national buyers through Arunachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing & Processing Board (APHPM&PB) to benefit the producers and expedite formation of North East Region Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium.

Tapuk was addressing an awareness workshop of ASSOCHAM on “Linking Startup’s and SME’s in Food Processing with Government Schemes & Markets” at Banquet Hall here. The workshop is organised collaboratively with NABARD, Ministry of Food Processing Industries Government of India, APEDA, North Eastern Council and Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

 Instead of developing this state, previous central Govts allowed it to serve as a buffer zone against China after 1962 China war, Tapuk said, adding  that Arunachal carved a niche for itself in national food production canvas with a new thrust to agriculture-horticulture sector and won Krishi Karman Commendation Award for four consecutive years. He attributed this success to implementation of various central and state sponsored schemes besides Chief Minister’s Agri-Mechanization Programme and National Food security Mission.

Arunachal is highest producer of kiwi in India with annual production of more than 4,500 tonnes and the APHPM&PB was instrumental in producing kiwi wine while large size cardamom production, an initiative of National Youth Project, has not only made many farmers of Anjaw district, located along China border, lakhpatis but is sold at double the rate in South Indian markets, he informed.

But state’s innocent tribal people adopt traditional cultivation practices and sell their products at throw away prices for lack of food processing knowledge for value addition, Tapuk said and hoped that this event would herald a  new era for sate farmers.

Highlighting importance of age-old indigenous food processing technology closely linked to state’s culture, Rajiv Gandhi University Vice Chancellor Prof Tamo Mibang hinted a present trend of switching over from traditional boiled food to processed and packed foods.

As none could survive without food, he exhorted the ASSOCHAM to recognise indigenous technology that could generate lot of employment while catering to the market needs by taping the vast scope.

Expressing deep concern that many Arunachalee youth, even recommended by lawmakers, come for multi-tasking staff contingency job at a very low wage, state’s  agriculture secretary Azimul Haque said that the state and central Govts have been offering huge scopes to turn entrepreneurs instead of looking for white colour jobs.

He stressed on correlating state’s lot of opportunities in agri-horticulture sector  and many unemployed youth to find a lasting solution. Terming Arunachal a happening state almost offering loan with no interest, he said that with huge but growing markets, the youth could earn decent livelihood if take up cash crop production.

Highlighting the abundant opportunities with state’s suitable agro-climatic condition, mission for integrated development of horticulture director Tage Tatung, said that with change of life style people have been preferring processed foods not boiled which demands setting up of  processed industries.

Arunachal  by default an organic state and its productivity is on the rise though only 1,13,000 hectares land of total 18 lakh hectares are under cultivation, he said  used , all crops could be cultivated, MIDS, state flagship programmes, , all are, but only

NABARD has been promoting state farmers with few of its total 36 activities related to agri-horti sector, said its GM Dr Gyanendra Mani adding that like India, Arunachal farmers have also reached a take off stage to explore huge scope to boost state’s rural economy.

  The need of the hour is to tap the available local materials for commercial production beyond self consumption and establish forward and backward linkage and encash the nature’s gift, he emphatically said.

Terming food processing 5th largest industry in India, industry director Taru Talo said it being largest employment generator contributes  8% to national GDP. While the MSME is the engine for economic growth, PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and state CM’s Swabalamban Yojana offering loan ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs one crore with subsidy to intending entrepreneurs are giving additional thrust to agri-horti sector, he said and urged the participants to avail the opportunities.

ASSOCHAM senior director Dr Om S Tyagi said that the event intended to bring mass awareness about the huge the agri-horticulture scopes which could turn into a game changer for the state.

Announcing that Arunachal has been on atop ASSOCAHM radar, he announced that a three-day workshop-cum-exhibition involving the farmers would be conducted here in October-November next  to give a special emphasis in the larger interest of the farmers to the thunderous applause of the gathering.