Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, on Wednesday, launched the Farmer’s Collectivisation for Upscaling Production and Marketing Systems (FOCUS) programme for Samanda block in East Garo Hills in presence of government Chief Whip Marcuise Marak.

Launching the FOCUS programme, a flagship initiative of the state government to provide market access and financial assistance to farmers collective, the chief minister said that farmers in the state, comprising around 70 per cent of the population, will receive added benefits through the FOCUS programme to supplement the various welfare schemes of the Government that are in line with the state’s vision for the agriculture sector.

He said that through the FOCUS programme, the government envisions upscaling farming activities in the State by providing them better market access.

He said that the programme supports the farmers collective as “Producers Group”, as financial aid is being provided to them.

“There are several problems for an individual farmer. So we are encouraging like-minded farmers to come together as a group and avail the benefits of the scheme”, the chief minister said, while urging farmers to form Producers Group to avail the benefit.

He informed that ₹5000 will be provided to each farmer under the programme, however, they have to register as a producers group.

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He said that the assistance provided to the producers’ group is not a loan but assistance so that the farmers can upscale their farming and income-generating activities.

He also informed that ₹200 crores have been earmarked for the programme, which will be spent over the next few years.

He also mentioned that PRIME Hub, an incubation and mentoring centre, which is coming up across the state will provide technical know-how and training for value addition, processing and packaging.

He also urged farmers groups and entrepreneurs to avail loans from different programmes of the government to set up processing units.

He also said that the government has ambitious entrepreneurship promotion programmes and will provide the necessary support to potential entrepreneurs from the state.

He further said that farmers welfare and entrepreneurs was a thrust area for Late PA Sangma and the Govt is working to fructify his dream through the FOCUS programme.

During the programme, he also handed over cheques to 35 producers groups from East Garo Hills.

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