ITANAGAR- Chief Minister Pema Khandu today had a series of meetings through the day with various stakeholders on way forward in cultivation and production of aroma oil and palm oil in the state on a mission mode.
Representatives of Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP)), Lucknow, 3F Industries Ltd, Hyderabad, Ruchi Soya Industries ltd, Andhra Pradesh, and Dabur India Limited, Ghaziabad, submitted their respective proposals and presentations to the Chief Minister, who was accompanied by Advisor to Agri-Horti Minister Gabriel D Wangsu, Advisor to State Govt H K Paliwal, Principal Secretary (Home) cum Commissioner Agri-Production, Planning Commissioner, Agri-Horti Secretary and Director agriculture.
Sr. Scientist and Head Business and Rural Development Dr RK Srivastava of CIMAP which is a frontline research lab of CSIR dedicated to high quality research in the area of biological and chemical sciences of plants, expressed that the institute is interested to collaborate with the state government in production of aromatic plants such as mints, scented geranium, rosemary, citronella, lemongrass, vetiver, patchouli, etc. He informed that out of 25 districts, CSIR-CIMAP proposes to implement the project initially in 15 districts for commercial cultivation and processing of aromatic crops.
In the first phase plan is to start in East Siang: Lemongrass, Patchouli and Peppermint, West Kameng: Lemongrass, Geranium and Peppermint, Namsai: Lemongrass, Citronella Rosemary and Patchouli, Tawang: Rosemary, Rose and Geranium and Shi-Yomi: Geranium, Rose and Salvia.
Srivastava also said that the Institute proposes to extensively engage in sustainable supply of medicinal plants and beekeeping in the state.
Of the three private companies, two – 3F Industries and Ruchi Soya Industries – are already operating in the field of oil palm cultivation in the state.
Operation of 3F Industries commenced in 2012 in Lower Dibang Valley district with establishment of nursery, office and manpower recruitment. It is yet to establish a Palm Oil Factory and for which it requested the government for facilitation of land parcel for the same. It assured that as soon as land is provided, it will start construction of the Processing Facility.
Ruchi Soya Industries Limited had signed an MoU with the state government for East Siang, in August 2014. It was further allotted the districts of West Siang, Kamle, Lower Siang, Papumpare and Pakke-Kessang in 2016 for oil palm production.
The company informed that it has already established nurseries as Pasighat and Hollongi and engaged about 800 farmers to develop plantations of about 1346 hectares.
Ruchi will invest Rs 500-plus crores on nurseries, extension, Palm Oil Factory/Refinery, informed its representative and requested the government to make available at least 25 hectare land for establishment of a 5MT/Hr Mill in the state.
Proposing to venture into the state for the first time, Dabur India, one of the top-5 FMCG companies in India, which also has a manufacturing unit at Tezpur in Assam, eyes to collaborate in the field of procuring medicinal plant raw material, cultivate special medicinal plants like ‘Ashta-varga’ (8 RET orchids) as a special package for 2-3 years cycle, explore possibility of RM related to RET species (Aconitum, Hedychium, Kuth, Tagar etc), to increase the cover of procurement of Tomar seeds from 10 to 100 MT in the next 5 years and to introduce organized Honeybee Keeping in Arunachal Pradesh to harvest 5,000 to 10,000 MT in 3-5 years.
While appreciating the interest shown and assurances made by the stakeholders, Khandu said that all proposals have been noted down and the government will ponder on these seriously.
He assured to work out strategies for successful implementation of all feasible, practical and beneficial proposals without harming the rich biodiversity of the state.
“I have already discussed in detail with the deputy commissioners of 10 districts falling in the foothill areas on utilizing vast stretches of unused wastelands for benefit of our farmers. We are committed to uplift the economy of our farmers as well as contribute to further our country’s economy. At the same time, I want to ensure that our existing forests will not be touched,” Khandu said.
To the requests for facilitating land for establishment of processing factories, Khandu assured the respective deputy commissioners will ensure availability.
He stressed on the private companies that farmers of the state, who may be novice when it comes to cultivation of medicinal plants and oil palm trees, would need proper handholding and asked them “to be ready for it”.