Shillong (Meghalaya), Dec 2 : As a part of its initiatives to promote exports of locally-sourced Geographical Indications (GI) tagged agricultural products, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry through its apex agricultural export promotion body Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been striving to identify new products and new export destinations.
As a part of this initiative, APEDA felicitated trial export shipment of GI-tagged Khasi Mandarin Orange of Meghalaya to Dubai in association with the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Meghalaya. The trial shipment started with one tonne of the organic juicy citrus fruit.
The trial export shipment of Khasi Mandarin orange has been sourced from Jirang-based FPC (farmer producer company) under the Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya. The Khasi Mandarin oranges are grown under the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), which is a sub-mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
The trial shipment was flagged off by S Sadhu, Agriculture Secretary, Meghalaya, while APEDA chairman M Angamuthu addressed the gathering virtually.
On the occasion APEDA chairman Angamuthu stressed on making the North Eastern Region as a hub of organic products’ export. “It’s a fact that the North Eastern Region is a leader in organic products. The time is apt to promote Meghalaya’s purest form of organic in the country as well as across the globe. So, let us work together and promote horticulture, value-added organic products and other products of Meghalaya.”
With the intervention of APEDA, there is a tremendous increase in the export of agricultural produce from NE states like Meghalaya, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
Due to the initiatives taken by APEDA, the NE region witnessed an 85.34 percent growth in the export of agricultural products in the last six years as it increased from USD 2.52 million in 2016-17 to USD 17.2 million in 2021-22. The major destination of export has been Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Middle East, the UK and Europe.
To provide potential market linkages, APEDA organised field visits of importers to have first hand information about the qualitative cultivation practices being followed by farmers by inviting the importers from the neighbouring countries, the Middle East, far Eastern countries, European nations and Australia, etc. The field visits were carried out in all eight states of NER.
APEDA, in association with the Department of Commerce and Industry, Assam, organised an export promotion conference-cum-buyer seller meet at Aizawl, Mizoram in March 2021.
Besides, APEDA organized international buyer seller meet (BSM) in Guwahati, Assam on March 10 wherein exhibitors from across the state displayed a wide range of agri-horti products, including GI products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, processed food products, black rice, red rice, joha rice, spices, tea, coffee, honey, processed meat, spices & organic products. Importers from Sri Lanka, Dubai, Bangladesh, Oman, Netherlands, Singapore and Greece participated along with exporters from NER and other states.
A national buyer-seller meet was organized by APEDA in Guwahati on June 24 , to promote the export of organic products grown in Assam. APEDA also signed an MoU with Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat to conduct various training programmes on pre-harvest and post-harvest management and other research activities for the promotion of export from the region.
The APEDA promoted GI products from NER like Bhut Jolokia, Assam Lemon, etc drew the attention of PM Narendra Modi who had mentioned it during his Maan Ki Baat programme. Assam Lemon is now exported regularly to London and the Middle East and as of now, more than 50 MT of Assam Lemon has been exported.
Even during the Covid-19 period, APEDA showed no signs of abating and continued to push its export plans through Virtual Buyer Seller Meet in association with the Embassy of India located in different countries with exporters and FPOs/FPCs from NER regarding the sourcing of pineapple, ginger, lemon, orange, etc. APEDA also organised Virtual Trade Fairs during the pandemic and facilitated the export to foreign countries.
APEDA has also planned to undertake several other projects like capacity building of 80 budding entrepreneurs and exporters from the region, the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) and the state govt. officials, organize skill development and training in food processing, value addition on horticultural produce, etc.
APEDA also extended its support to NER to undertake branding and promotion of North East products such as KIWI Wine, processed foods, carrying out a wet sampling of Joha Rice Pulao, Black Rice kheer, etc.