ITANAGAR, 24 May: Chief Minister Pema Khandu asserted that Arunachal Pradesh has huge domestic and international potential in trade as it shares borders with countries like Tibet (China), Myanmar and Bhutan.
Addressing the inaugural session of an ‘international buyer seller meet’ (IBSM) at the DK Convention Hall here on Tuesday morning, the CM said that “in tandem with the government of India’s focus on ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, the state’s trade relations can be further improved by using connectivity links like Pangsau Pass (with Myanmar) in the east and Lumla-Tashigang road (with Bhutan) in the west.”
“By 2047, we should aim to make Arunachal Pradesh as a gateway of trade with our neighbours,” he said.
The IBSM was held for the second time in Arunachal by the union Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APFPEDA) to promote export of potential agricultural and processed food products from Arunachal and provide market linkage to the producers. The first such meet in the state was held in 2019.
Lauding the APFPEDA for organising the “all-important meet” in the state, Khandu suggested focussing on developing three types of markets with long-term goals: short distance market, medium distance market, and long distance market.
“The short distance market,” he said, “is the existing market within the state, which needs to be further strengthened by roping in the Indian Army and paramilitary forces that are posted in the state in huge numbers as potential buyers.”
“Under the middle distance market, we can work on developing markets with rest of the country, including states in the Northeast, and explore and open marketing avenues with neighbouring countries,” Khandu explained.
Emphasising the need to promote sustainable and organic agriculture in the state, the CM said that, with only 17 persons per sq km population density, Arunachal has huge stretches of fertile land for cultivation.
“From the foothills to the snow-clad mountains, we have all the weather conditions suitable for agriculture and horticulture produces. And as we are geographically the largest state in the Northeast, we have ample scope to focus and improve in this sector,” he said.
Khandu informed that the state government’s basic focus is on building a self-reliant Arunachal by strengthening the agriculture and allied sectors, enhancing the quality of output, and improving livelihoods of the dependent population.
“By launching the Atmanirbhar Krishi Yojana and the Atmanirbhar Bagwani Yojana – two unique schemes wherein, of the total project cost, 40 percent is borne by the state government, 40 percent provided as credit linkage from banks, and only 20 percent contributed by the farmer – we aim to make Arunachal self-sufficient in foodgrains and emerge as the fruit bowl of the country,” he said.
Underscoring the importance of geographical indication (GI) tagging, which has become a powerful tool to depict the uniqueness and distinct characteristics of a product while competing in the international market, Khandu requested the departments concerned to pursue the Centre for tagging of products, in coordination with the APFPEDA.
“Our Arunachal oranges have received GI tag. We are the largest producers of kiwi in the country and we have started exporting several other fruits. In order to popularise unique products from the state, we should work towards identifying more such local products from the agri-horti, textiles and handloom sectors which can be GI tagged,” he suggested.
The chief minister expressed hope that the exchange of views and ideas between the sellers from the state and the buyers from across the country and abroad would “throw open new avenues of markets and lay the foundation for more in future.”
Expressing hope that the state government departments and agencies would take full advantage of all APFPEDA schemes and programmes, he requested the central agency to keep the agriculture and the horticulture departments and the Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board in the loop vis-à-vis all its future endeavours.
Besides Agriculture Minister Tage Taki and state government officials, the inaugural session was also attended by APFPEDA Chairman M Angamuthu, NEDFi CMD PVSLN Murty, APFPEDA General Manager SS Nayyar, and APFPEDA DGM Vinita Sudhanshu. (CM’s PR Cell)