Taking ‘Mission Organic’ a step further, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu has inaugurated the Arunachal Fresh Food Products outlet at the state civil secretariat in Itanagar.

The outlet would retail organic and fresh vegetables as well as other food products of local farmers from Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states.

A pilot project of the Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board (APAMB), the outlet is an attempt to promote local farmers and entrepreneurs as well as showcase the state’s rich and organic potential in agriculture-horticulture products.

Mission Organic is a central scheme that aims to develop certified organic production in a value chain mode to connect growers and consumers and support sustainable development.

Congratulating APAMB and the department of Agriculture, Khandu said the step is in the right direction and a major one in the context of tapping the rich agricultural potential of the state.

“We have around 7 lakh hectares of cultivable land. Under Mission Organic: Value Chain Development programme, we have a target of developing 20,000 hectares,” Pema Khandu said.

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“We have already acquired organic certification for around 5,000 hectares. Hopefully, we will acquire certification for the rest 15,000 hectares soon,” he said.

Khandu, however, pointed out 20,000 hectares is meager considering the state has a potential of 7 lakhs hectares that can become organic.

He urged the agriculture and horticulture departments and APAMB to develop the entire 7 lakh hectares for organic farming in the next few years.

He expressed optimism that the ‘Vocal for local’ campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will benefit local farmers and boost their economy in a major way.

“I have personally informed the central government about the armed forces becoming potential customers for local farmers and the authorities have shown keen interest,” the chief minister said.

“If we can tap into the potential, our farmers will get a formidable market at their doorstep,” he said.

The APAMB can use its resources and reach out in this direction through its district offices.

The present state government has kept the agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry under one ministry unlike in earlier governments.

Khandu expressed hope the outlet would be a major success that can be replicated in other towns across the state. He also assured budgetary support to further the cause of Mission Organic in the state.

CEO of APAMB, Okit Paling told all potential customers that the only mode for transaction in the outlet will be cashless

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com