Government trying to provide horticulture based alternative livelihood to poppy growers: Biren

Pothashang News Service: Imphal, July 18, 2019: Manipur government is trying to provide alternative livelihood, based on horticulture farming, to poppy growers said Manipur chief minister N.Biren Singh as he inaugurated constructed building of directorate of horticulture and soil conservation at Sanjenthong, Imphal East on Thursday.
Biren said large scale destruction of forest cover due to poppy cultivation leads to environment degradation and climate change.
The chief minister said the state needs to focus on some specific items like pineapple, lemon, orange, ginger and yongchak (tree beans) etc., which are suitable to the soil of the state, for economic prosperity.

He informed that since 2015-16, Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) had been able to register 12,500 organic farmers covering 12,500 hectare in the state. Under this organic mission, the chief minister said, 10 Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) had been formed, and an additional five more FPCs are in the process of forming. As a marketing achievement, Biren informed, around 150 MT of organic pineapples was airlifted to Delhi and other cities last year which hugely benefitted the pineapple growers. Currently, consignment of organic Manipur pineapple to marketing platforms such as Big Basket and NE Agro Products through flight is taking place for sale at major cities in India, he added.

Stating that the government had also been actively working for upliftment of ginger growers of Pherzawl district, the chief minister said the government had been able to link buyers with ginger growers this year. Around 4000 MT of ginger had been marketed outside the state fetching more than Rs. 12 crore this year. In 2018, sale of 1000 MT of ginger was made by MSTC Ltd., a Government of India company fetching Rs. 1.9 crore, he added.

Saying that organic produce of Manipur had been exported to different countries, Biren said organic U-morok (king chilly) had reached Australia, Canada and USA.

Directorate of horticulture and soil conservation had acquired Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kachai lemon, he said and added that now Kachai lemon has become the only lemon variety of India to have a GI tag.

Biren said MOMA was awarded with the prestigious Jaivik India Awards by International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA), government of Karnataka and APEDA for efforts and achievements in promoting organic farming in the state.

Maintaining that the government always welcomes agro-entrepreneurs, who are willing to invest efforts in horticulture opportunities, the chief minister said Manipur State Co-operative Bank Ltd. had recently provided loan to an apple grower. Last year as well, financial assistance of around Rs. 95 lakh had been provided under StartUp Manipur to a strawberry grower, he informed.

Biren said that cold storage infrastructures are being set up in various districts for the convenience of farmers. After amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927, bamboo is no more categorised as a tree. As such, bamboo can now be grown in private or homestead land for livelihood or sale, he added.

Horticulture and soil conservation minister Th. Shyamkumar said development of horticulture sector can make Manipur an economically self-reliant state for which experts of directorate of dorticulture and soil conservation need to give proper training to farmers regularly.


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