Reminding about the ‘Mission Organic’ adopted by the state government, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday said the official of the departments concerned have to tighten up their belts and prepare a sound road map to turn Arunachal as an organic state within three years.
The Chief Minister assured that the state government will do everything possible to strengthen the Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board (APAMB) to help out farmers by becoming a viable platform to link-up farmers and buyers in a sustainable manner.
Khandu reiterated his assertion for change of mind-set amongst the people, especially officers of agriculture, horticulture and allied sector departments while chairing a meeting of the Board along with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Agriculture Minister Wangki Lowang.
“We often talk of our huge potential in agri-horti products but in fact we have failed to tap these resources economically and have done little to economically strengthen our farmers,” Khandu observed.
He asked the officers of the Board and the departments concerned to come up with a roadmap to strengthen the Act under which the Board was established in line with the national Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.
The Chief Minister informed that the state government has taken the sector on top priority and also kept enough budgetary provisions to explore and enhance productivity. He said the Board has to revive its marketing committees in the districts, which are almost defunct, and usher in a new window for facilitating marketing produces.
He also directed the departments and the Board to collect real time data of produces from the districts so as to enable experts in suggesting workable and profitable proposals for marketing.
Lamenting that departments like Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry are not doing justice to their responsibilities, the Chief Minister made it specific that officers and officials of these departments have to change their mind-set as well as their work culture.
“The state government will reward outstanding officials but at the same time will not hesitate to take action against non-performing officials,” he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein called for scientific approach in facilitating marketing of agri-horti produces. Citing the many cold-storages constructed across the state, which are lying defunct, he said there’s no point creating infrastructure worth crores if these are not put to use as intended.
Mein suggested taking the help of NABARD in financing of the Board so that it can play a pivotal role in facilitating marketing of local produces besides earning revenue for the state.
Agriculture Minister Wangki Lowang too emphasized on strengthening the Board by re-defining its roles and responsibilities. He said that the Board needs to be professionally fine-tuned for better output.
APAMB Chairman Ngurang Pinch gave details of the issues facing the Board that has hampered its functioning to the fullest and sought legislative as well as administrative support from the government. He also raised the issue of different heads and departments for all agro-allied sectors that has created divide and confusions amongst the departments and limits the scope of the Board.
Officials of the department and Board made power point presentations on the ways and means to strengthen the Board by way of making amendments in the APAPM (Regulation) Act of 1989, creating infrastructure, and streamlining its administrative set-up. The Board also submitted proposals to be taken up in the next five years and corresponding expenses.
The Finance Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, Secretaries, Director Agriculture, General Manager NABARD and APAMB Members were present in the meeting.