Shillong (Meghalaya), Oct 28: A program was held at the State Convention Centre in Shillong in the presence of the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma to honour the entrepreneurs and farmers of Meghalaya for their work and contribution towards enhancing the agriculture, tourism, and entrepreneurship sectors in Meghalaya.
The program witnessed awards being presented to the best performing Producer Groups, Collective Marketing Centres (CMC), Integrated Village Cooperative Societies (IVCS), and Ginger Processing Units mobilized under the Meghalaya Livelihoods and Access to Markets Project (Megha-LAMP) and the Farmers’ Collectivization for Upscaling Production and Marketing Systems (FOCUS). Also sanctioned were craftspeople and artisans selected under the Ateliers Meghalaya and the Culinary Ateliers Meghalaya programs and beneficiaries of the Homestay Scheme under the State’s Tourism Department.
In his address, Sangma stated that to be among the top per capita income states in India over the next 10 years, incomes must first grow at the grassroots across the different sectors. A comprehensive strategy is being put in place to maximize and leverage the two main areas of strength in the State, which in Meghalaya are agriculture and tourism. This thought process has led to the creation of many livelihoods-promotion and enterprise development-centred programs and projects to institutionalize farmers, self-help groups, and producer groups. The program showcases the State Government’s commitment and investment in these sectors where long-term farmer empowerment and livelihoods are the focus.
He added that entrepreneurship has equally been a key area of work and the Government is working to build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem across all levels. Entrepreneurship offers the people with a platform beyond traditional, mainstay agriculture, and tourism represents the biggest potential in terms of job opportunities. The sector has to be developed and prioritized to cater to the 5 lakh youth that would inevitably seek employment over the next 5 to 6 years. He urged the beneficiary participants under the different programs and schemes to become models for other farmers, producer groups, self-help groups, and entrepreneurs and create a movement of the people so that Meghalaya will reach its goal of becoming a high per capita income state.
Also present on the occasion were Dr. Vijay Kumar D , Commissioner & Secretary, Planning, etc., Meghalaya, Smt. Meera Mishra, Country Coordinator, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) India, officials from the Tourism and Planning Departments, and invited community members and scheme beneficiaries from across the Khasi, Jaintia, and Ri Bhoi regions. The program was jointly organized by the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA), the Meghalayan Age Ltd., and the Tourism Department, Government of Meghalaya.