CM urges youths to focus on processing & packaging of agri produce
GUWAHATI, Nov 8: Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday inaugurated a 5,000 metric-tonne-capacity cold-storage facility at Chaygaon and a fruit-processing centre at the food-processing park at Satabari under Kamrup district.
The 5,000-metric-tonne cold-storage facility has been constructed by the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board at a cost of Rs 24.75 crore.
The ‘chiller’ and ‘freezer’ rooms of this facility, which is likely to benefit farmers of Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup, Goalpara, Nalbari and Barpeta districts, has storage capacity of 550 metric-tonne and 575 metric-tonne respectively.
While the ‘chiller’ rooms would be meant for storage of agricultural items such as potatoes, fruits and other vegetables, the ‘freezer’ room would be of use in storage of milk and milk-produces. The fruit-processing unit, on the other hand, has been built at a cost of Rs 2.89 crore. It is worth mentioning that this fruit-processing unit is the first of its kind in the state.
Speaking at a public meeting held at the Chhaygaon College playground, the chief minister appealed to the youths of the state to focus on processing and packaging of agriculture products and items.
Stating that the state’s produces such as ginger, pepper, lemon, joha rice had had great demands in the national and international market, the chief minister said the farmers of these items shall be able to reap remunerative values for their produces only if their produces are further processed and packaged, which will add to their value-addition.
This, he said, would have a huge positive impact on the ongoing process of strengthening the state’s economy.
Owing to the state government’s initiatives, there have been annual exports of horticulture produce to the tune of Rs 200 crore in the past couple of years, the chief minister exuded confidence in days to come, this figure can easily cross Rs 1,000-crore mark. He appealed to the Department of Agriculture to take necessary measures in this regard.
The chief minister also touched upon a number of novel initiatives of the government of Assam. He said the government shall, from this time, ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rice would be raised to at least Rs 2,006. Similarly, 9 lakh new beneficiaries will be added to Orunodoi scheme from next month, the chief minister added.
The chief minister further added that from January, around 52 lakh of the state’s population would be provided ration cards, he said this group of people would be entitled to free health coverage worth Rs 5 lakh per year. He further added that from next year, construction of 25 new colleges would also be taken up.
Tuesday’s programmes were also attended by cabinet ministers Chandramohan Patowary, Atul Bora, Member of Parliament Queen Ojha, Members of Legislative Assembly Rekibuddin Ahmed, HemangaThakuria, Suma Haripriya, Nandita Das, chief of Rabha Hajong Autonomous Council Tankesar Rabha, Kamrup deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli, among others.