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Arunachal

Centre’s Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) will be a game changer for agriculture sector, says Pema Khandu

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ITANAGAR-  Chief Minister Pema Khandu today assured the central government that with improved connectivity in the state, the state government will leave no stone unturned to achieve ‘atmanirbharta’ in the agriculture sector.

Attending a virtual conference of the union Agriculture ministry chaired by its Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Pema Khandu said the Centre’s Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) will be a game changer for agriculture sector in the country. He assured the state government will immensely benefit from the flagship program.

“Agriculture as a viable sector in the state is still in a nascent stage mostly due to the state’s geographical factors. However, in recent years connectivity has opened up scopes for farmers and is turning agriculture into a viable economic activity,” he said.

Khandu requested the ministry to handhold the state in establishing cold-chain facility across the state under the AIF. He reasoned that due to the state’s vast geographical area, cultivable pockets are far and wide that calls for a robust cold-chain network to transport and preserve agriculture as well as horticulture produces.

Welcoming the Centre’s push for oil palm cultivation in a mission mode, the Chief Minister informed that as per a survey conducted by a central team in 2019, Arunachal Pradesh possess at least 1.33 lac hac of land feasible for oil palm cultivation in a commercial way.

“We assure everybody that this surveyed land does not fall under forest land category but are basically unused wasteland,” he disclosed.

Khandu further said that as per records only about 5000 hac has been used for oil palm cultivation, most of which at the moment are abandoned. He said with the renewed intention and planning of the central government this can be revived for doubling the income of farmers by ensuring an assured market.

“We are in touch with few of the erstwhile contractors (investors) to establish their oil palm factories. We are hopeful that with the incentives being provided now by the government, they will agree to do so,” he observed.

He informed that directives have been issued to the department to work in this regard.

Chairing the conference, Tomar informed that under the AIF, the government focuses on five key areas to bring transformative change in the agriculture sector that would be commercially profiting for farmers.

The key areas are – Infrastructure and Logistics that has facility of Rs 1 lakh crore setup to support farmers, FPOs, start-ups, state agencies, APMCs, etc; Agriculture Produce Export which includes identification of export clusters, certification and primary processing for export quality produce and cooperation between central and state agencies; Self-sufficiency Pulses and Edible Oil that includes mission mode approach for increasing production and productivity of pulses and oil seeds and Oil Palm Mission; Digital Access that targets linking of farmers database to state land record system, accurate and digital recording of crops and agristack for smart and precision agriculture; and Direct Income Support and Credit Availability for direct cash benefit under PM-KISAN and saturation drive for Kisan Credit Cards.

Present in the conference were state Agriculture Minister Tage Taki and his Advisor Gabriel D Wangsu.

The conference was also addressed by union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal and chief ministers of 11 states.

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