No leniency in fight against drugs, says Biren
No leniency in fight against drugs, says Biren

TMB Report 

Imphal: Chief Minister N Biren said that the BJP government is ready to face any eventualty and challenges in the fight to completely eradicate drug and Poppy plantation from the soil and that there will not be any question of retreat. 

“The ongoing war on drug is to save the people. Those druglords, frustrated by the government’s crackdown against Poppy planters and drug smuggling, are likely to target me physically or politically but I don’t care. I will fight against drug till my last breath”, Chief Minister said while inaugurating a three day long Agri Horti Expo for Organic and Indigenous Products of Manipur & Buyer Seller Meet organized by Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Manipur at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal on Friday.

Highlighting the adverse effect of large-scale poppy cultivation on soil and environmental impact due to mass deforestation for the same, the Chief Minister said the state will be turned into a dry state in near future if mass poppy cultivation is not curbed down. 

Biren maintained that the State Government had 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 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.

 He 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 product worth of Rs. 200 crores have been sold in the last six years and out of which Rs. 30 crores worth of products has been sold outside the State and about Rs. 1.5 crore has been exported outside the country, he expressed hopefulness 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 further stated.

The Chief Minister was hopeful that the State Level Agri Horti Expo for Organic & Indigenous products would offer an interactive & competitive ecosystem of all stakeholders and provide opportunity to learn from each other for further improvement while showcasing their respective achievements and potential products.

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’ organizations and emergent entrepreneurs for coherent and long-term partnership. He was confident 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 Shri 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.

The Agri Horti Expo & Buyer Seller meet is organized under the sponsor 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 30th of this month.