New Delhi : Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Shri G. Kishan Reddy co-chaired a meeting to review the progress of various schemes of the Government of India in the Agriculture sector in states of the Northeastern Region (NER) virtually from Vignan Bhavan, New Delhi today.
Union Minister of State for DoNER Shri B L Verma, Ministers for Agriculture of all the 8 North Eastern States attended the meeting. Secretary, DoNER, Secretary, Agriculture, Agriculture Secretaries from the NER States along with senior officials of both the Ministries and their organizations were present in the meeting.
Addressing the North Eastern States, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar assured that Central the Government of India will do everything in its capacity to ensure that the income of the farmers of the NER region is doubled. He said, “Our door is always open. I request all State Governments to come up with a proposal if you find any difficulty in any schemes related to the agriculture sector.”
Tomar said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi put special emphasis on the development of the North Eastern Region. Speaking on the opportunities in the oil palm sector Shri Tomar said that ICAR suggested that 9 lakh hectare land in the North East is suitable for oil palm production. Due to the oil palm production farmers of the North Eastern Region will be hugely benefitted, Employment will be generated and import of oil palm can be reduced. Thus North East has a major role to play to make India self-reliant in edible oil.
The Minister said there are some horticulture and medicinal crops only produced in North-Eastern State. There is a very big export opportunity for such crops. He said that Agriculture and Commerce Ministry are working together to tap such opportunities and to solve the logistic problems faced by the North Eastern States.
Agriculture Minister also requested State Government to focus on Natural Farming. He said that the Prime Minister’s vision to minimise the dependence of farmers on purchased inputs through Zero budget Natural farming that reduces the cost of agriculture by relying on traditional field-based technologies which leads to improved soil health through natural farming should be fulfilled. He also congratulated Sikkim and the other North States for their achievements in organic farming.
Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Tourism, and Culture while addressing the states suggested that a task force be formed with representatives from Agriculture Ministry, DoNER and State governments to ensure that the schemes of Agriculture Ministry are saturated for the Northeastern Region and the schemes can be customized to address the unique nature and the nuances encountered in the Northeast Region.
The Minister said that there is huge scope for employment generation in Agriculture and tourism industries. He said that the Prime Minister has underscored the vision to develop the North East as the hub of organic farming. Further, there is tremendous potential for the development of horticulture as a major contributor to the region’s economic prosperity. Be it Pineapple, Oranges, Kiwi, or spices such as turmeric, ginger, cardamom etc. The North Eastern States are gaining popularity in the market which needs to be taken to a global level now. He said that there is a need to focus on strengthening the agricultural and horticultural produce value chains. He said that post-harvest management also needs to be improved by involving FPOs, SHGs and the private sector. This is a crucial step in doubling our farmers’ income. There should be greater coordination with the Union Agriculture Ministry, line ministries and among all North Eastern States.
During the meeting, brief presentations on the major initiatives/ programmes being run by the Ministries in the Agricultural Sector for the NER States were made by the Agriculture Ministry and Secretaries of all the 8 States of NER. Key schemes/programs discussed during the meeting are as below:
- Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Regions (MOVCDNER)
- National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
- Bamboo in North East Region
- The mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
Agriculture Ministers of the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura discussed the issues and challenges they were facing in detail.
Officials from organizations such as North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFI), Tribal Co-Operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.(NAFED) also made presentations on the work their respective organizations are undertaking in the Northeast region. The officials from the Ministry of Food Processing were also present and made presentations on the various schemes available for the Northeast region.