ITANAGAR, Jan 12: Furthering the State’s ‘Mission Organic’ launched in 2017, Chief Minister Pema Khandu today opened the ‘Arunachal Fresh Food Products’ outlet at the state civil secretariat here that would retail organic and fresh vegetables as well as other food products of local farmers from Arunachal Pradesh and other Northeastern states.
A pilot project of the Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board (APAMB), the outlet is an attempt to promote local farmers and entrepreneurs as well as showcase the State’s rich and organic potential in agri-horti products.
Congratulating APAMB and the department of Agriculture, the CM said that the step is in the right direction and a major one in context of tapping the rich agricultural potential of the state.
“We have around 7 lakh hectares of cultivable land. Under the Mission Organic: Value Chain Development program, we have kept a target of developing 20000 hectares. Of these we have already acquired organic certification for around 5000 hectares. Hopefully, we will acquire certification for the rest 15000 hectares soon,” he informed.
Khandu, however, pointed out that 20000 hectares is meagre when the State has a potential of 7 lakh hectares that can become organic vis-a-vis the entire state is known as organic State by default.
He urged upon all, especially the departments of Agriculture and Horticulture along with APAMB, to develop the entire 7 lakh hectares for organic farming in the next few years. He advised all field level officers of the departments in the districts to become proactive and create awareness on the benefits of organic farming.
He expressed optimism that the ‘vocal for local’ campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will benefit local farmers and boost their economy in a major way.
Admitting the lack of market for farmers locally within the state owing to its very low population density, Khandu said that directions have already been given to the concerned authorities to explore potential consumers like the Indian Army and central armed forces who are deployed in the State in large numbers.
“I have personally informed the central government about the armed forces becoming potential customers of local farmers and the authorities have shown keen interest. If we can tap the potential, our farmers will get a formidable market at doorstep,” he said.
Khandu suggested that APAMB can use its resources and reach out in this direction through its district offices.
He affirmed that the state government is taking the agri-horti sector seriously and to start with has kept all the agri-allied sectors like agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry under one ministry unlike in earlier governments. He said this has triggered a concerted coordination amongst the departments and showing good results and appreciated the leadership and commitment of the incumbent Minister Tage Taki.
Expressing hope that the outlet will be a major success that can be replicated in other cities and towns across the State, the CM also assured budgetary support to further the cause of ‘Mission Organic’ in the State.
Also present on the occasion were Agriculture Minister Tage Taki, Home Minister Bamang Felix, who incidentally is also a progressive farmer and has products from his farm for sale at the outlet, MLAs Gabriel D Wangsu and Tana Hali and Advisor to CM Tai Tagak, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar besides top officials of the secretariat.
Meanwhile, CEO APAMB Okit Paling has informed all potential customers that the only mode available for transactions in the outlet will be cashless. (CMO)