CM urges CHF to become catalyst for development

PASIGHAT, Sep 10: Chief Minister Pema Khandu urged the students and faculty members of the College of Horticulture & Forestry (CHF) here in East Siang district to become catalysts for development of the horticulture sector in Arunachal, saying horticulture has “tremendous potential to change the state’s economy.”
Addressing the students and faculty members at the college on Tuesday, Khandu said that despite having huge potential, the agri-horti sector has not been exploited in the state, except in a few pockets. He urged the CHF to “evolve methods to augment the horticulture sector and benefit the farmers by spreading technical expertise beyond the walls of the college campus.”
Informing that only about 3 percent of the 25 lakh hectares of arable land in the state is under use at present, the CM advised the students to spend their vacations productively by educating their parents and elders, and the farmers of their respective villages, on the best farming practices.
“We in the state government have given top priority to the agri-horti sector, which is evident from our 2019-20 budget. We have prepared a roadmap to benefit at least 90,000 farmers in the next two years,” Khandu informed.
He said the government has started the CM’s Sashakt Kisan Yojna to benefit agri-horti farmers, “which is in line with the prime minister’s campaign to double the farmers’ income in the next couple of years.”
Stating that fishery is another sector which has been overlooked, the CM informed that provision has been made this year to launch the Mukhya Mantri Neel Kranti Abhiyan.
“This scheme,” he said, “is aimed to increase local fish production, which will curb the import of fish from other states and benefit the local fish farmers.”
Khandu reiterated his emphasis on increasing market intelligence among the farmers, and said the college can help in this regard.
He also informed that a ‘mega food park’ would be established near the state capital to encourage and give a platform to local farmers.
“The mega food park will provide wholesale markets and auction centres in order to facilitate the farmers in exhibiting and selling their produces,” he said.
The CM said that his government, with support from the union food processing industries ministry, is also going to open ‘mini food parks’ across the state, with cold storage and market link facilities.
Union MoS (Independent) for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju in his address called for “change of mindset of today’s generation towards farming.”
Stating that today’s youths consider farming a petty job meant only for the poor and rural folks, he urged youths to “consider farming as a profession and take it up successfully to sustain and grow economically.”
Rijiju also suggested to the college to reach out to the farming community, “and start by opening up study centres all over the state.”
Khandu and Rijiju, along with Assembly Speaker PD Sona, Health Minister Alo Libang, Sports Minister Mama Natung, legislators Phurpa Tsering, Ninong Ering, Lombo Tayeng and Kaling Moyong, and others were in the college to inaugurate its indoor sports auditorium and PG girls’ hostel.
Earlier in the day, Khandu inaugurated a CT scan unit at the Bakin Pertin General Hospital & Training Centre, and a souvenir shop at the Pasighat airport. (CMO)

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