The first edition of the North East Food Show, which kicks off in Shillong on Wednesday Credit: EastMojo Image

Shillong: A first-of-its-kind North East Food Show got underway in Shillong on Wednesday, with Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma inaugurating the exhibition in the presence of agriculture minister Banteidor Lyngdoh. The state government has taken the initiative in collaboration with Salon International de I’Agrolimentaire (SIAL) group.

More than 300 stalls have been set up at the food show with all the Northeast states being a part of the exhibition. The three-day event will also have buyers from around the country. Almost 15 hotel chains have come for the show and are looking at different exotic products, local products, and organic products available.

Speaking during the inaugural session of the three-day food festival, Sangma said that the Northeast has great potential and he hoped that the food festival would provide the right organisation, platform and network to farmers, entrepreneurs and all stakeholders in the food industry.

“Northeast has great potential and farmers and entrepreneurs are doing so well but there is a missing link somewhere and that is why it was important to have such a food festival in Northeast on a common platform,” he said.

He added that the three-day festival would bring together farmers, technology providers, entrepreneurs, buyers, chefs, hotels and all stakeholders in the food industry in a single massive platform.

“The objective of the food festival is to give exposure, connection, and opportunities to the farmers and entrepreneurs of the Northeast,” he informed.

He also said that the government intends to take the food festival forward every year making it an annual event so that it will not only be beneficial to the Northeast but the entire Southeast Asian region. “We are hopeful and targeting that this will be the biggest food festival in the Southeast Asian region,” said Meghalaya chief minister.

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A collaboration between the state government of Meghalaya, Inter Ads Exhibitions Pvt Ltd, sole licensee of SIAL in India, the world’s largest food innovation network with over 50 years of global food innovation experience, the North East Food Show 2019 is platform of Northeastern India that is focusing on creating a global platform to ‘Inspire Food Business’ for this part of the country.

The North East Food Show is also the curtain-raiser to “charting of a new course through food processing and supply chain management” for the Northeast. A series of conferences, workshops and demos will be held which will culminate in the Northeast chief ministers’ conclave on the last day in which key decision and policymakers from the Union and state governments along with key representatives from the industry will be present for deliberations.

Sangma also informed that the state is likely to end up spending more than Rs 3-4 crore. But that a large amount of that has been made up through the sale of all the stalls that are taking place at the show.

“There are more than 300 stalls here and stalls’ revenue that has come in has really allowed us to make a large contribution towards this. We have got help from the government of India from Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), the food processing sector they have also contributed a large amount to us. So we are hopeful that we will be able to cover up the expenditure,” said Sangma.

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