Meghalaya launched draft policy on Jackfruit Mission
Shillong: The Meghalaya government has come up with a draft policy to market and promote jackfruit.
The policy on Jackfruit Mission was released by chief minister Conrad K. Sangma at the Jackfruit Festival in presence of agriculture minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and other officials. The first state-level festival was organised by the agriculture department with the theme The Humble Jack - with a large heart.
Different value-added jackfruit items were displayed and sold at the festival. Jackfruit, also known as the poor man's fruit, used to get wasted in the hill state all these years.
Launching the draft policy, the chief minister said adequate thrust had not been accorded to market jackfruit, which is highly nutritious and readily available.
"We strongly feel that a right policy and a system will change the entire dynamics as we embark to market and promote jackfruits from Meghalaya," the chief minister said.
Stating that the policy on Jackfruit Mission is one of the flagship programmes of the government that would encourage entrepreneurial activities, Conrad said this would help farmers in the state to generate additional income from the fruit, which is found in every household in rural areas.
"We already have the strength, and if we push our farmers and entrepreneurs, we will be able to facilitate and handhold them to brand and market the fruit," the chief minister said.
Conrad said the state cabinet would create a new directorate for food processing to facilitate promotion of agriculture and horticulture products. The directorate will also facilitate entrepreneurs interested in venturing in the field of food processing, he added.
Agriculture minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said jackfruit has a huge potential, and the government would tap the opportunity to leverage the income of the farming community and rural farmers. Lyngdoh added that when he met Union agriculture minister, he had sought more funds to create infrastructure and facilities for the farming community.
Additional chief secretary K.N. Kumar said 75 per cent of ripe jackfruits were wasted every year in Meghalaya.
"Through this mission, the government will be able to tap the potential of jackfruit and make an investment of about Rs 80 crore for five years, of which, Rs 50 crore will be a central share and the rest would be borne by the state," he said.