SHILLONG, July 06: Meghalaya is yet to take advantage of the huge potential that is present with the wide availability of jackfruit, according to Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma who said that proper thrust in this area of agriculture has not been there in the past.
“We strongly feel that a right policy and system will change the entire dynamics as we embark to market and promote jackfruit of Meghalaya,” Conrad said, while listing aspect of value added products and the right approach to brand and market.
Launching the draft policy on Jackfruit Mission at Jackfruit Festival 2018 held at All Saints Hall, Shillong here on Friday, Conrad said that the policy on Jackfruit Mission is one of the flagship programmes of the government which will encourage entrepreneurial activities and will help the farmers of the state to generate additional income from the fruit, which is found in every household in rural areas.
Providing a little detail the policy to promote jackfruit, the Chief Minister said, “We already have the strength and if we push our farmers and entrepreneurs, we would be able to facilitate and guide them to brand and market the fruit,” he said.
He also informed that cabinet has passed a resolution to create a new directorate for food processing to facilitate promotion of agriculture and horticulture products. He said that the directorate will also facilitate entrepreneurs who would be keen to start ventures in the field of food processing.
“Food processing directorate will specifically look into value addition of agriculture and horticulture produces,” he added.
The first state level Jackfruit Fruit Festival 2018 was organised by the Department of Agriculture with the theme – “The Humble Jack – with a large heart.” Different value added jackfruit items were displayed and sold during the festival.
Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh meanwhile said that jackfruit has a huge potential and that the government will tap the opportunity to augment the income of the farming community and the rural farmers.
“We are taking a strong initiative to boost development in the state and Jackfruit Mission is one of the agenda to uplift the farmers,” he said.
Lyngdoh informed that recently he met Union Agriculture Minister and has sought more funds to create infrastructure and facilities for the farming community. He also urged the officials of the agriculture department to have an innovative approach to enhance the livelihood of the farmers.
Additional Chief Secretary K N Kumar said that the festival will generate curiosity in the urban areas of the state. He said that 75 per cent of ripe jackfruit in the state is wasted every year and through the mission the government will be able to tap the potential of jackfruit.
Through this mission, the government will make an investment of about Rupees 80 crores over a period of 5 years of which Rs 50 crore will be central share and rest would be borne by the State government.