Imphal: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Friday inaugurated the Agri Horti Expo for Organic and Indigenous Products of Manipur & Buyer Seller Meet organised by Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Manipur at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal.
The Agri Horti Expo & Buyer Seller meet is organised under the sponsorship of Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, Ministry of Commerce, MOVCDNER, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India and State Government of Manipur and will continue till April 30.
Speaking on the occasion, Biren maintained that the State Government has been taking up various initiatives to develop horticulture products and promote organic farming, knowing the potential of the State. He continued that the State could become a model state among the Northeast States, if the State’s potential and farmers’ skill are utilized suitably. However, we need to know the feasibility of a product in a particular region, he added.
He further stressed on the need for the Horticulture Department to identify the product suitability and give emphasis on planting the identified product and also mentioned on providing monetary and technical support to enhance their production.
Highlighting the adverse effect of large-scale poppy cultivation on soil and environmental impact due to mass deforestation for the same, the Chief Minister expressed his government’s firm stand in its War on Drugs campaign and uprooting poppy cultivation. He also stated that the Government is ready to face any outcomes, during its mission to save the future generation of the State.
Biren recalled that the Government implemented organic farming in various parts of the State with 5000 farmers covering 5000 hectares in 2016. The area covered under organic farming has been expanded to 37,900 hectares in the year 2021-22, he added. He stated that the State had been able to tap the demand for organic products of the state outside the country and is venturing into the global market space with the sole aim of providing remunerative prices for the farmers.
Informing that organic products worth of Rs. 200 crore have been sold in the last six years and out of which Rs. 30 crore worth of products has been sold outside the State and about Rs. 1.5 crore has been exported outside the country, he expressed hope that the expo would promote and increase the sale and marketing outside the country and export.
Stating that the Market Intervention Scheme for Horticultural Products has been launched to support farmers with assured markets for their produce and preventive measures to curb food losses in the State, the Chief Minister assured that farmers need not worry about a marketing platform for their produce as the Government has provision for buyback of their produce. Cold storage facilities have also been set up at many places, he said.
Mentioning that the Food Processing Unit (Mag Fruit Factory) at Nilakuthi is ready for inauguration, he informed that the unit will have cold storage facility, cleaning, grading, sorting and packing facilities, specialized storage facilities etc. The State Government is all set to introduce Advanced Drone Technology in agriculture and allied sectors for the benefit of the farming community, he added.
Biren also expressed confidence that the State Level Agri Horti Expo for Organic & Indigenous products would offer an interactive & competitive ecosystem of all stakeholders and provide opportunities to learn from each other for further improvement while showcasing their respective achievements and potential products.
Delivering his speech as President of the programme, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Letpao Haokip stated that the three days event fulfilled the cherished dream of the State and the Horticulture Department to comprehensively showcase the unique horticulture and agricultural products and to create marketing linkage.
The Minister continued that the Buyer Seller Meet would create a platform for buyers from different parts of the Northeast as well as outside the region to interact with farmers’ organisations and emergent entrepreneurs for coherent and long-term partnership. He expressed confidence that the event would encourage discussion and deliberation in order to provide solutions and create a strategy towards the increasing challenges faced by the farmers and agribusiness sector.
After the formal inauguration programme, the Chief Minister visited the stalls set up by various agencies of the Agriculture and Horticulture Department, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research- NER Regional Centre, College of Agriculture (CAU), various Farmer Producer Company and Van Dhan Vikas Kendras among others.
Chairman, Manipur Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation Khongbantabam Ibomcha, Additional Chief Secretary P. Vaiphei, senior officials of North Eastern Region Agriculture Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, officials of the Horticulture Department and Farmer Producer Companies also attended the programme among others.