Shillong, July 06: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma today launched the draft policy on Jackfruit Mission at Jackfruit Festival 2018 held at All Saints Hall, Shillong in presence of Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh.
Releasing the draft policy, the Chief Minister said that jackfruit despite being highly nutritious and readily available adequate thrust has not been accorded to market and take advantage of the fruit.
“We strongly feel that a right policy and a system will change the entire dynamics as we embark to market and promote jackfruits of Meghalaya,” the Chief Minister said, while listing aspect of value added products and the right approach to brand and market.
He said that the policy on Jackfruit Mission is one of the flagship programmes of the government that would encourage entrepreneurial activities and would help the farmers of the State to generate additional income from the fruit, which is found in every household in rural areas.
Detailing on the policy to promote jackfruit, the Chief Minister said, “We already have the strength and if we push our farmers and entrepreneurs, we would be able to facilitate and handhold them to brand and market the fruit,” he said.
He also informed that cabinet has passed a resolution to create a new directorate for food processing to facilitate promotion of agriculture and horticulture products. He said that the directorate will also facilitate entrepreneurs who would be keen to start ventures in the field of food processing.
“Food processing directorate will specifically look into value addition of agriculture and horticulture produces,” he added.
The first state level Jackfruit Fruit Festival 2018 was organised by the Department of Agriculture with the theme – “The Humble Jack – with a large heart.” Different value added jackfruit items were displayed and sold during the festival.
Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said that jackfruit has a huge potential and government would tap the opportunity to leverage the income of the farming community and the rural farmers.
“We are taking strong initiative to boost development in the State and Jackfruit Mission is one of the agenda to uplift the farmers of the State,” he said.
Lyngdoh informed that recently he met Union Agriculture Minister and has sought for more funds to create infrastructure and facilities for the farming community. He also urged the officials of the agriculture department to have an innovative approach to enhance the livelihood of the farmers.
Additional Chief Secretary K N Kumar said that the festival would generate curiosity in the urban areas of the state. He said that 75 per cent of ripe jackfruit in the state is wasted every year and through the mission the government would be able to tap the potential of jackfruit.
Through the mission the government will make an investment of about 80 cr over the period of 5 years of which 50 cr will be central share and rest would be borne by the State government.