ITANAGAR, Jan 12: Taking ‘Mission Organic’ launched in 2017 a step further, Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated ‘Arunachal Fresh Food Products’ outlet at Civil Secretariat here on Tuesday that would retail organic and fresh vegetable and other food products of local farmers and other NE states.
A pilot project of the Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board (APAMB), the outlet is an attempt to promote local farmers and entrepreneurs and showcase state’s rich and organic potential in agri-horti produces.
Congratulating APAMB and agriculture department, Khandu said the major step is in right direction to help tap vast agricultural potentials.
“We have around seven lakh hectares of cultivable land. Under the Mission Organic: Value Chain Development programme, we have a target to develop 20000 hectares. Organic certification for around 5000 hectares have been obtained and hopefully acquire certification for rest 15000 hectares soon,” he said.
However, he hinted that 20000 hectares is meager when the state has a potential of seven lakh hectares to go organic though the state organic by default. He exhorted one and all, especially the agri & horti departments and APAMB to achieve organic farming target in next few years. He advised all field level officers to be proactive and create awareness on benefits of organic farming.
He expressed optimism that ‘vocal for local’ campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will benefit local farmers and boost their economy in a major way.
Admitting lack of local markets for farmers within due to low population density, he said that directions have been given to authorities concerned to explore potential buyers, like the Indian Army and central armed forces who are deployed in the state in large numbers.
“I have personally informed the GoI 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.
He suggested that APAMB can use its resources and reach out in this direction through its district offices.
He affirmed that the GoAP is taking the agri-horti sector seriously and to start with has kept all the agri-allied sectors, like agri-horti and animal husbandry under one ministry unlike in earlier Govts. This has triggered a concerted coordination among the departments to show good results and lauded committed leadership of present Minister Tage Taki, who was present.
Expressing hope that the outlet would be a major success that can be replicated in other cities and towns across the state, Khandu also assured budgetary support for Mission Organic.
Also present on the occasion were Agriculture Minister Tage Taki,
Home Minister Bamang Felix, incidentally a progressive farmer and his farm products are on sale at the outlet, legislators Gabriel D Wangsu and Tana Hali and Advisor to CM Tai Tagak, chief secretary Naresh Kumar and top officials were present,
Meanwhile, APAMB CEO Okit Paling said that the transaction mode in the outlet is cashless. (CMO)