ITANAGAR, 16 Aug: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday virtually flagged off the first consignment of vegetables from SHGs and women’s groups for the army personnel stationed in Bolung (Lower Dibang Valley district), Chug (West Kameng), and Gunanagar (Namsai), under ‘Mission Krishi Veer’.
An MoU has been signed among the Arunachal Pradesh Marketing Board (APMB), the Arunachal State Rural Livelihoods Mission (ArSRLM) and the Tawang and Jang LAMPS, by which the APMB will act as a facilitator between the SHGs registered under the ArSRLM and the LAMPS for implementation of the scheme and supply of local surplus production to the Indian Army in the state.
“The Indian Army and paramilitary forces have a huge presence in the state and demand huge quantity of fruits and vegetables for daily consumption. Till now they have been procuring their demands from other states as there is no proper system in our state for such purchase in bulk. I have always believed that, if the forces could be made customers of our local produces, it would hugely benefit our farmers,” Khandu said.
He observed that, as with every new initiative, this too would face teething problems and take time to become a well-oiled system. He, however, expressed hope that, “with officials of departments like agriculture, horticulture, ArSRLM and APMB working sincerely in tandem on the field, this will become a great success story in the future.”
“Let’s begin with a small step. Let’s choose QA/QC products for the start as the Indian Army is quite strict with quality. Slowly, as the system falls in place, we can go for supply of all other products, including meat, fishes, eggs, milk, etc,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Tage Taki said that the new initiative would prove to be a boon for the local farmers “by bringing market to their doorstep, besides strengthening the brotherhood among the soldiers and civilians.”
“It would be our responsibility to keep the supply regular without fail as the demand would be huge. And also, the ‘customer’ will be very strict,” he added.
Approximately calculated, about 50,000 soldiers are stationed in the Kameng sector alone, and another 50,000 in the rest of the state.
APMB CEO Okit Palling informed that “at the moment, the demand is about 17 tons of fruits and 23 tons of vegetables per day, of which only 8-10 percent is sourced from Arunachal Pradesh.”
On the other hand, he said, there are about 1.17 lakh farmers in the state, cultivating about 5.4 lakh hectares across Arunachal, producing over 330 tons of fruits and 390 tons of vegetables per day.
“The only missing link is the inadequate logistical network and cohesion among various stakeholders, which we intend to put in place,” Palling said.
The state government has placed a revolving fund of Rs 4 crore to mobilise ‘Mission Krishi Veer’. (CM’s PR Cell)