Entrepreneurs heading khetiki ore to tap vast horti potentials

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

After the capital of Arunachal Pradesh was set up at Naharlagun in 1972 at the initiative of chief administrator K A A Raja, many from then Subansiri, Kameng, Lohit, Siang and Tirap districts made a beeline to the state capital in search of greener pastures and become part of the state building.

Many who landed with high hopes succeeded to become lakhpatis and hazarpatis, many got Govt jobs while many managed to occupy land to build their own houses, but time clicked away to justify “Time and tide wait for none.”

This Himalayan state beginning as NEFA became union territory as Arunachal Pradesh on 20.01.72 and attained statehood on 20.02.87.

It is inquisitive to watch now 32 years after attaining statehood that those lakhpatis and hazarpatis, may be few crorepatis, have been heading back to their native districts (now 25) in search of greener of pastures, toeing Gandhian principle – India lives in villages.

All experts visiting the state in 90’s used to predict horticulture-agriculture holds the panacea to the socio-economic growth of Arunachal. This has been proved with Arunachal winning Krishi Karman Award-2014-15 for consecutive years in total food grain production under category-III states (less than one million tons) to receive a citation and of Rs. one crore.

The state had produced total 4.09 lakh MT of food grains including rice, coarse cereals and pulses, in comparison to total 3.73 lakh MT of food grain produced previous year (2012-13).

The steady growth of production in agriculture and allied sector was attributed to state sponsored schemes besides Chief Minister’s Agri-Mechanization Programme and National Food Security Mission.

With this cash award, then agriculture minister Setong Sena had facilitated launching State Krishi Karman Award to recognize and award trendsetting farmers.

In fact, state’s horticulture pioneer Likha Maj on 15.07.17 had planted one lakh high quality mouth-watering guava saplings in 102 hectare land at Yachuli, owned by Green Gold Group in collaboration with Lucknow-based ICAR.

This being first such initiative in NE India would herald a guava revolution in NE India, ICAR scientist Dr Shailendra Rajen had said with conviction, adding ICAR-CISH offers numerous technologies to prepare juices.

Known entrepreneur Kyoda Apik is another example for he has taken up cultivation of horticulture products in vast areas in Ziro. He has already procured processing plant for selling the finished products at higher rates.

Moreover, Arunachal oranges are imported to many countries, Arunachal is the largest producers of kiwi fruits with average annual production of 4,720.5 MT and the kiwis are imported to various cities of India and sold with foreign brand. And after New Zeland, Arunachal was put on global map by producing wine, named ‘Arun Kiwi’, a collaborative venture of Arunachal Pradesh Horticultural Marketing & Processing Board and Pune-based Hill Crest Foods & Beverages Pvt Ltd at the initiative of former chief minister Nabam Tuki. Moreover, large size cardamom produced by Anjaw farmers at the initiative of National Youth Project has not only made them lakpatis but their products are sold in southern markets at double rates.

Dream Change – Arunachal 2027 Conclave  on 08.12.17, an imitative of present Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Maj, Maj as a resource person, had categorically announced to invest  Rs 200 crore to set up proposed Mega Food Park, if the GoAP offers free land, subsidised power, electricity and build link road to herald the guava revolution. A processing plant would be set up to offer organic guava juice without any chemical preservative, unlike all juices available in market now, he had announced.

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