Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Tage Taki has advocated for a policy with fencing provision regarding area expansion for large scale crop cultivation in the state.

Speaking at a webinar conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Taki on Saturday said that the state has limited funds and cannot afford large-scale fencing.

“The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is aware of our state’s financial condition, we have limited funds and cannot afford large-scale fencing,” he said while highlighting the dearth of grazing land due to which animals have started to encroach farms.

“Whenever there is agriculture, horticulture and allied department planning and programming underway, they should keep in mind to undertake separate policy formulation for hilly areas which includes states like Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh for agro-based expansion,” the minister pointed out.

Taki said current policies where farmers are being imparted skills are more suitable to large states such as Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and others. For hilly regions such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and alike there need to be special interventions.

Noting that his government is facing various issues in implementing agriculture sector related policies of the Centre, Taki said, “About 60 per cent of Centre’s budgeting system for agriculture sector is for post-harvest activities, whereas here we need about 80 per cent of budget for area expansion.”

The minister further said that currently, whatever agriculture production is being done in Arunachal Pradesh is majorly for self-consumption.

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“Unless there is large scale cultivation, we cannot go for exports and for that we need to perk up post-harvest infrastructure which includes setting up cold storage units and collection centres.”

Sharing a new policy of his government Taki said, “This year in our agriculture department we have implemented a new policy, ‘one district one product’ for large scale production as part of Centre’s clarion call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and we are getting support from NABARD.”

The minister urged the industry to help the state get an organic certificate for its organic produce from the Centre and regarding the issues being faced by the industry, he urged them to come up with suggestions and conduct coordination meetings and the government would tweak the rules if required.

Referring to the state’s agriculture potential, Taki said that Arunachal Pradesh can produce the world’s most exotic fruits, medicinal plants to cater to the entire world’s requirements and help bring down import bills of edible oil.

In his address, NABARD Deputy General Manager BP Mishra informed about various funds and schemes that are being provided even though there are plenty of challenges like transportation, lack of post-harvest infrastructure and others that are being faced by the farmers in Arunachal Pradesh.

“NABARD on its part, is providing funds to the farmers in the state to increase the productivity so that they can fetch better prices and market their products in a better way,” said Mishra.

Sharing his perspective, ASSOCHAM North-East Regional Council Chairman Mahendra Agarwal said, “Lack of infrastructure is one of the biggest bottlenecks for the development of agriculture in the state.”

“Availability of adequate credit for agriculture operation is also a major concern faced by the state’s farmers. The government has launched several schemes to promote agriculture in the state and industry would work in tandem with the authorities to realise the state’s agriculture potential, Agarwal added.

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