Shillong(Meghalaya), Feb 8 : Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, today, inaugurated a Jackfruit Processing Unit at Gulpani Nokat, Rongara, South Garo Hills, in the presence of Minister, Education etc and MLA, Rongara-Siju, Rakkam A Sangma and MLA, Baghmara and Chairman, MGCC, Kartush R Marak.Also present during the occasion were MLA, Amlarem and Chief Advisor to the Government, Lakhmen Rymbui and CEM, GHADC, Albinush Marak.
Addressing the gathering Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, expressing happiness in inaugurating the Jackfruit Processing Unit said that such processing units will not be limited only to jackfruits but the government endeavours in opening processing units for different locally available fruits, vegetables and products. He informed that Meghalaya has an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables, but the people have not been able to reap economic benefits from these fruits and vegetables that would usually go waste. “We have started various programs on a mission mode so that farmers can double their income through value addition of their agricultural produce and the various missions like Lakadong Mission, Ginger Mission, Jackfruit Mission have also created livelihood for people in the rural areas,” he said.
He also said that the Jackfruit Processing Unit built at a cost of about 2 crores is powered by a decentralised 100 KW solar power unit thus paving the way for a Green and Sustainable Energy. “This Processing Unit is perhaps one of the best processing units in the State the design of which is featured in the prestigious Architecture Review as one of the Top 15 sustainable designs globally and this unit will also serve as a community hall and a community shelter in the event of calamities,” he said. He further informed that during season around 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh worth of jackfruit will be purchased daily from the public which will be then processed and packaged into different products like jackfruit chips, jackfruit flour, jackfruit jam etc. and around 150 women will be trained and employed in the unit and the project is set to introduce more than 20 value added products derived from the exceptional jackfruit of Meghalaya. “I am happy to inform you that we already have orders from Russia and Europe for different jackfruit products and this a matter of happiness and pride for all of us,” he added.
The CM also said that the unit operated by the Rongara Agro Food Processing Cooperative Society is entirely owned by the community. “We have a goal that this Processing Unit will impact nearly 5000 farmers and create employment for youth across South Garo Hills,” he stated. He also informed that to date 440 Integrated Village Cooperative Societies and 28 Organic Farmer Producer Organisations and 78.5 crore worth agri-infrastructure has been set up across the state. He added that the government is committed to better renumeration for farmers through a focus on value addition and food processing. “Over 160 micro-processing enters, including processing units for Ginger, Arecanut, Turmeric, Jackfruit, Aromatic Oil Distillation, Cashew, Pepper and Banana have been established,” he said.
Further, the Chief Minister also highlighted some of the development projects for South Garo Hills the important ones among them being the Ranikor-Rongara-Baghmara Road which is in a stage of completion, infrastructure development projects for Baghmara and introduction of Science and Commerce streams in Captain Williamson Sangma College, Baghmara which would cater to the needs of the students of South Garo Hills.
Minister, Education, Rakkam A Sangma, in his address said that with the establishment of the Processing Unit the value of not only jackfruit but other fruits and products will increase thus enhancing the economy status of the people of the area. He lamented that there is a high rate of school drop outs in the district and urged the parents and the students alike to give due importance to education. He also stressed on the potential of Tourism in South Garo Hills and the need of infrastructures to boost Tourism.