Displaying various seasonal agricultural products, the 11th State Level Pineapple Festival cum Sellers & Buyers Meet and Youth Festival, 2018 formally began at Thambalnu Market Complex under Andro constituency in Manipur’s Imphal East District.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla inaugurated the six-day festival which was organized by Development Organization, Andro Kendra (DOAK) through Eastern Border Area Development Authority.
The function was attended by Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar Singh, Horticulture & Soil Conservation Th Shyamkumar who also holds Forest & Environment, Urban Development portfolios, Patron Member of DOAK Th Babita Devi, officials from departments of Horticulture & Soil Conservation department, Town Planning, Forest & Environment, pineapple farmers and locals of the area.
The Governor also inaugurated a cold storage unit constructed under Department of Horticulture & Soil Conservation at Thambalnu Market Complex.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Hepulla said that pineapple is a good option for revenue generation for the State.
She stressed for a concerted effort to increase the production as well as its market.
Pineapple varieties like Queen and Kew favoured by many for its flavour and health quotient can be grown in large numbers to market it outside the State.
The Sellers & Buyers Meet which is a part of the Festival is an opportunity in the right direction.
Stating that while there is a need to produce more, there is a need for simultaneous processing plant so that the fruits remain available throughout the year, she expressed hope that the pineapple growing community will work for increasing the production and write the success story of the fruit.
She also suggested that pineapple and other varieties of fruits available in the State can be dried and it be sold at higher profit margin.
The Festival which started in 2008 is empowering the farmers, bringing the farmers to a common platform, promoting agro-tourism and fostering the spirit of unity and brotherhood.
In his speech, Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar Singh said that ‘we must promote the cultivation of indigenous and traditional herbs and medicinal plants’.
He said the State is blessed with abundant varieties of herbs and medicinal plants, however, the people are not utilizing the potential of these plants due to lack of knowledge and awareness.
Horticulture & Soil Conservation Minister Th Shyamkumar said one of the objectives of organizing the festival was to empower the youths so that they utilize their potentials to the maximum and ‘safeguard our traditional values and customs’.
He said that he will approach the Government to upgrade Poiroukhongjil High School to higher secondary school before the next festival.
The proposal has been sent for the newly upgraded Angtha and Top Chingtha Public Health Centres.
Altogether 163 pineapple stalls, 54 other stalls and 32 food stalls took part in the festival which is scheduled to conclude on July 19.