Dimapur, Oct. 10 (ANI): The pineapple canning plant, a joint venture of the Medziphema Village Co-operative Society and Assam Rifles through military civic assistance has not only sweetened the lives of security forces but also the lives of civilians in the insurgency-hit state of Nagaland.
Medziphema village, a picturesque village located some 30 km from commercial hub in Dimapur, and surrounding villages is famed for growing the ‘sweetest’ pineapples in the world.
The plant funded under Military Civic Action (MCA) of the Assam Rifles (AR) was inaugurated on June 17, 2014 by Director General Assam Rifles, Lt. Col R.K Ran. Medizphema villagers donated land of the plant site.
The plant has gone in boosting the grass root economy of the area. Already 12 local people including four females have been employed in the factory and they are working overtime churning out pineapple juice and slices, which has hit the retail market under the brand name “Ananya.”
The plant will absorb more local educated unemployed youths in the coming years.
Pelevolie, an educated unemployed youth who completed his MSc, beamed with pride as he gave a demonstration on how to check the acidity and sugar levels of the pineapple juices before they are canned. Pelevolie has been appointed technical manager of the plant.
The four married women employees are equally content that they are bringing additional income to their families.
“I am getting a monthly salary of Rs. 5000 a month. This has improved the economy of our family to some extent,” one Hoinu stated.
A pine apple farmer said he was once compelled to sit on the highway to sell his farm products all day long. “There was no guarantee of selling all what I brought for sale when I was selling on the highway. Now I don’t have to waste my time here. The factory buys all the products in a minute,” he said.
“This joint venture is the idea of our IGAR and the first time in the history of the Assam Rifles to form a co-operative society with villagers. The main vision behind this venture is to set up a sustainable project to boost the economy at the micro level”, an AR official who preferred to remain anonymous said.
A feasibility study on the canning plant was carried out in August 2013, the financial sanction came in November 2013 and by June 2014, the plant’s infrastructure was completed in record time. The approximate cost of the project excluding the land donated by the villagers stands at Rs. 32 lakh.
Today Assam Rifles are one of the highest consumers of the pineapple juice and slices as the products have become alternative fruit juice and food supplement to the other fruit juices available in the market shelves and canteens, an AR official said.
The canning plant is never idle even when the pine apple season is over as the co-operative society also produce juices of orange from Wokha district and kiwi from Phek district, besides canning bamboo shoots and every seasonal fruits.
Presently, the Assam Rifles is providing round-the-clock security to the plant to dissuade anti-social elements from disrupting the smooth functioning of the plant. (ANI)