Monday, July 22, 2024

Int’l buyer-seller meet boosts agricultural exports in state


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By Our Reporter

Shillong, July 6: In a major effort to uplift the agricultural sector and increase farmers’ incomes in the North East Region (NER), the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, organised the Bharat Agri Conclave-cum-International Buyer-Seller Meet in the state capital on Saturday.
This one-day event was aimed to promote the region’s diverse agricultural and horticultural products, particularly from Meghalaya, and provide farmers with significant opportunities to connect with international buyers.
The conclave saw the participation of over 70 buyers from India and 12 other countries, including Uganda, Ghana, Indonesia, Greece, Kuwait, Oman, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Kenya, and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, 106 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs), cooperative societies, and producer groups attended the event.
The event was inaugurated by Agriculture Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh in the presence of Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare department, Vijay Kumar D, and APEDA Chairman, Abhishek Dev.
Senior officials from APEDA and various central and state government departments were also present at the event.
Lyngdoh, in her address, commended the APEDA’s efforts to promote Meghalaya’s agriculture.
“We are indebted to a large extent to APEDA, as prior to their assistance, farming in the state was very disorganised. Now, it is poised to maintain the uniqueness of our produce,” she said.
Lyngdoh criticised buyers who exploit farmers by not giving them credit for their renowned produce, such as Lakadong Turmeric, and highlighted the state’s efforts to protect the uniqueness and quality of its produce in global markets.
Lyngdoh also emphasised the initiative’s role in helping farmers generate income, describing Meghalaya as having “huge potential of greenhouse that can be exploited”.
Kumar, on the other hand, shared the success story of the first export shipment of Khasi Mandarin and Pineapple to the Middle East, facilitated by APEDA subsidies.
He mentioned that several institutional systems and ecosystems are now in place, making it the right time for buyers to engage with Meghalaya’s agricultural sector, which, he added, is now capable of meeting demanding supply needs compared to two or three years ago.
Kumar outlined the state government’s vision to scale up such initiatives, aiming to boost exports of local products to international markets and increase farmers’ income.
Meanwhile, APEDA Chairman emphasised the export potential of Meghalaya’s agricultural products and discussed various initiatives to boost organic exports from the state. He highlighted efforts to ease the organic certification process and expedite the accreditation of more certification bodies in the Northeast, benefiting local organic farmers.
Dev pointed out that Meghalaya emerged as the state with the highest agricultural income per household in India in 2018-19, averaging 29,348 rupees per month and showcasing the state’s robust agricultural sector and its contribution to many livelihoods.
The exclusive buyer-seller meet provided a platform for Meghalaya’s producers and processors to showcase their products to both global and domestic buyers. The event featured a diverse range of agricultural products, including organic fresh fruits and vegetables, processed food products, spices like Lakadong turmeric, natural honey, aromatic rice, pulses, and more.
The initiative aims to connect Meghalaya’s producers and processors with buyers from India and abroad, broadening the export basket of the NER and increasing farmers’ income. The APEDA plans to organise similar events in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in the current financial year.


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