Shillong, Jul 10: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday said that proper strategic planning, smart investment and structural reforms in the agricultural sector will be a game changer for the State.
‘There is a challenge that the country and the world is facing and the entire situation of Covid-19 has shaken the way we do things. It has hit the economy in different ways and I think the entire dynamics has changed on how we move our economy and conduct business all together,” he said, underscoring agriculture as the prime economic driver of the State with the highest employment potential than any other sector and with 80 percent of our people directly or indirectly dependent on it.
Sangma, who was addressing a two day webinar on Agri-Vision 2040, stressed that agriculture and its allied sectors should be the core focus area of the government’s effort to lift the economy that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among others present during the inaugural session were Chief Secretary M.S Rao and Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Dr. P. Shakil Ahammed.
Stating that agriculture sector in Meghalaya has a huge potential with the state having a natural advantage compared to many other parts of the country, Sangma said, it was imperative to increase the focus on new vistas in the agriculture sector where the return on investment was higher viz. mushroom cultivation, apiculture and through other value addition activities.
“We are looking at a two pronged strategy in the long run, to target the nearest existing markets and ‘consumption centres’ through mass production of certain products which will greatly benefit our farmers at the grassroots level through quick returns and financial gains and secondly concentrate on the production of high value low quantity organic agriculture products which is in high demand in niche markets across the country and the world’, he said.
Looking forward to a positive outcome from the webinar, the Chief Minister was hopeful that the two day online seminar with the participation and active involvement of experts from various institutes of national importance, national resource centres, farmers organization and other stakeholders, would be able to come up with valuable and concrete suggestions in areas pertaining to policy interventions, inputs on logistical and infrastructural support, capacity building and technology interventions among others, which can be adopted in the government’s plan towards self reliance in food-security and nutritional security in the State.
The two day online seminar will cover a wide range of topics including agro technology, research, finance, food processing and value addition, market linkages, agricultural inputs among others.