Shillong: Meghalaya attracted new investment projects valued at Rs 56.36 crore in the 2020-21 financial year while the projects completed in the state during the period were worth Rs 10.58 crore, according to a study.

The state, which is logistically central for trade with countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar, is attracting investment in food processing, horticulture, tourism and mineral-based industries, it said.

The study conducted by the MSME Export Promotion Council and technology firm BillMart FinTech was released here on Friday. It was also presented to the state government.

In 2020-21, the state attracted new investment projects worth Rs 5636.5 million (Rs 56.36 crore) and the projects completed during the period were worth Rs 1058.0 million (Rs 10.58 crore), the study stated.

The MSME EPC and BillMart proposed to provide handholding to at least 50 potential entrepreneurs to start their own enterprises in a year.

BillMart has already launched MSME GAIN (Growth and Intelligence Network) and shall train enterprises on the application of technology for growth of businesses and up-to-date knowledge on various laws.

Addressing the launch of the report, MSME EPC chairman AL Hek said that the food processing industry currently accounts for only 10 per cent of the total agriculture produce of the state, which needs to be expanded.

Food processing has huge untapped potential in Meghalaya as it produces substantial quantities of oranges, peaches, pineapples, pears, guavas, plums and bananas, he said.

Hek said that a special division on North-eastern economic development has been established in the MSME EPC secretariat and it will primarily focus on attracting fresh private sector investment.

Observing that a large number of projects are either outstanding or under implementation, the study has recommended constitution of a high-powered committee under the chief minister to expedite the completion and avoid cost escalation.

It found that Meghalaya has achieved significant success in the cultivation of non-traditional crops like tea, cashew nut, oilseeds, tomato, mushroom, wheat and turmeric in 2019-20.

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