Needed a task force for NE to saturate Agri Ministry schemes: DoNER Minister

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Union Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Minister, G. Kishan Reddy on Thursday sought a task force be formed with representatives from Agriculture Ministry, DoNER and state governments from all eight NE states to ensure that the schemes of Agriculture Ministry are saturated for the region.

“The schemes (of the Agriculture Ministry) can also be customised to address the unique nature and the nuances encountered in the northeast region. There is a huge scope for employment generation in agriculture and tourism industries,” Reddy said and reminded that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underscored the vision to develop the northeast as a hub of organic farming.

Reddy, along with Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar co-chaired a meeting to review the progress of various schemes of the Centre in the agriculture sector in the northeastern states.

The hybrid meeting, attended by the duo from Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, was also attended by Union Minister of State for DoNER, B.L. Verma, Agriculture Ministers for of all the eight northeastern State, the DoNER Secretary, the Union Agriculture Secretary, the state Agriculture Secretaries along with senior officials of both the Ministries and their organisations.

Tomar assured that the Centre will do everything in its capacity to ensure that the income of the farmers of the region is doubled.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put special emphasis on the development of the region. ICAR has suggested that nine lakh hectare land in the northeast is suitable for oil palm production. Due to the oil palm production, farmers of the northeast region will be hugely benefited, employment will be generated and import of oil palm can be reduced. North-East has a major role to play to make India self-reliant in edible oil,” he said.

He also requested the state governments to focus on natural farming, and also congratulated Sikkim and the other states for their achievements in organic farming.

Reddy reminded that there is tremendous potential for the development of horticulture as a major contributor to the region’s economic prosperity. “Be it pineapples, oranges, kiwis, or spices such as turmeric, ginger, cardamom etc. the northeastern states are gaining popularity in the market which needs to be taken to a global level now,” he said, adding, there is a need to focus on strengthening the agricultural and horticultural produce value chains.

He said that post-harvest management also needs to be improved “by involving FPOs, SHGs and the private sector. This is a crucial step in doubling our farmers’ income.”

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