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The BJP-IPFT Government in Tripura has mooted an idea to open counters for selling the organic agricultural products to boost the market and encourage the famers to go for organic firming besides, boosting the cultivation of horticultural produces. The government has adopted multipronged strategies to increase agricultural production as well as firm mechanization to attain self-sufficiency in food grain and vegetable production.

The Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb announced to extend all out support to the pineapple growers of the state to sale up the production of export quality juicy fruit at least thrice in a year. The first consignment of 600 MT pineapples will be sent to Dubai. The state government has already come into the supply contract of pineapple with a group of businessmen from Dubai but now the government has to assure the production of best quality queen verity pineapple round the year before signing formal trade agreement. He said besides, holding meeting with the pineapple growers and field level horticulture officials, the state government has been working on development of packaging infrastructure and cold chain facilities in the state. “We shall set up pineapple growers association with 5-6 orchards and the state government will assure the procurement of their products in a unified rate and quality. The  horticulture officers and scientists are responsible to ensure the quality of pineapple and size of the produce. We have made it clear that farmers will not go to office, officers have to go to the farmers,” he said.

Deb said that the state government has already decided to send the first consignment of pineapple to Dubai in next two months and necessary arrangements have been worked out. As part of the promotion of pineapple and tourism, the state government will make advertisement in all the airports and railway stations across the country and major destinations of India. “We shall shortly open up Tripura emporium in all the important cities of the country to promote tourism, horticulture, handloom and handicrafts. Though pineapple is our first target, we are working on the same business model for lemon and jackfruits, which are also best here in the country,” he stated.

The dream project of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb is to sell the queen verity pineapple of Tripura at the national and international level, seems to be in a strange situation as the farmers of Tripura are seemingly not showing interest in pineapple production despite several efforts by the state government. “We tried our best to inspire the farmers from all over the state to pursue pineapple production via open gathering but they are worried following their past year experiences. We are not being able to make them understand the value of pineapple. At least 40000 pineapples will be produced in each hectare of land in each spell of cultivation”, opined Agriculture Minister Pranajit Singharoy. The government has targeted to open up Krishan Bandhu centre in each of the localities involved in horticulture and agriculture where top officials will be assigned to sit and meet the farmers and address their issues, which is considered as a strategy for increase production.

“The department has been asked to plan out the model to revive orange production in Jampui hill of North Tripura along Mizoram border. The climate and soil of the hill is unique to produce best quality orange but it has not been happening for last two decades and we shall make it now,” Singharoy added. He said that the agriculture department has earmarked 2000 hectares of land for organic farming of vegetables this year in Tripura and based on the success and demand gradually the area would be extended. “Though the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide in Tripura is less than the national average, the government has been encouraging farmers to further minimize its use and go for organic farming to ensure sustainable and healthy production,” he said. day by day, which prompted the government to think over developing market linkage of organic produces. Tripura has initiated organic farming in the state and would take lessons from Sikkim on this, he said adding to expand the organic farming of vegetables in Tripura we would take help and knowledge from Sikkim. “When the production would start for marketing of the organic vegetables, one counter would be set up in each district and sub-divisions across the state. At present the department in association with the farmers’ club is encouraging organic farming in a big way,” Debbarma said.

Biswendu Bhattacharjee

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