Conrad Sangma: Govt working on a number of interventions to promote value-added jackfruit products

Shillong, Jun 21: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said that the government is working on a number of interventions to promote value-added jackfruit products in the State under its flagship scheme – “Jackfruit Mission”.

In 2018, the “Jackfruit Mission” was launched in the State and is being implemented by the Directorate of Food Processing, Government of Meghalaya.

Through the programme, the Government is supporting the farmers engaged in jackfruit plantation and is providing training and other support to leverage their activities by connecting them with market linkage.

Speaking at “Nano Jackfruit Entrepreneurs” event at College of Community Science, the Chief Minister said that with jackfruit grown abundantly in the state, the jackfruit mission was launched with a view to create livelihood, value chain, etc. “The mission will be a game-changer as the demand for jackfruit products in the international market are very high”, he said.

Lauding the efforts of the entrepreneurs, the Chief Minister said that the state government will provide help to the nano entrepreneurs to take the mission forward thereby bringing the benefits of jackfruit to the people.

Sangma also informed about the Chief Minister’s Support for Producers Group, wherein Rs. 5000 each is provided to individuals who collectively comes together to form a group.

“Under the programme, each individual entrepreneurs or farmers with similar interest can come together and avail the support to further their entrepreneurial activities or use it as a startup fund to begin their venture,” he said.

The Chief Minister informed that Rs. 5 crore have already been sanctioned to take this project forward.

He also informed that the government is playing a pro-active role to create market linkages with the neighboring Bangladesh, Arab countries, etc. to create value chain, job opportunity.

Sangma also took the opportunity to inform the entrepreneurs that the Government is supporting a group to start packaging unit in the State, which will enable farmers and entrepreneurs to aid in branding and packaging their value added food and fruit products.

During the event, the Chief Minister also interacted with entrepreneurs, who have been working in the food processing sector with very small set-ups in different parts of Garo Hills. He said that the Government is upbeat to upscale and connect the farmers and entrepreneurs to the market and also provide support through different “Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme” of the Government viz., Prime Hub, E-Championship Challenge, etc.

He also informed that Technology Incubation Centre is coming up at the College of Community Science in Tura.

West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh, highlighted the food and nutritional values of jackfruit and said that streamlining of jackfruit processing will be achieved under the able leadership of the chief minister.

On the day, the Dean of the College of Community Science, Dr. Pushpita Das, delivered the key-note address and Dr. Dombe Warisa S Marak, a representative of the Directorate of Food Processing (DOFP), highlighted the importance of jackfruit, lack of markets for jackfruit products, the steps taken by the DOFP towards jackfruit mission in the state, the objectives, road-map, etc.

During the interactive session, the chief minister awarded certificates to the 13 shortlisted entrepreneurs. He also handed over to the entrepreneurs who have received vocational training at the college the household items like pressure cooker, mixer grinder and sewing machine purchased with the one-day salary of the teaching faculty and staff donated to help the pandemic hit people.