GUWAHATI, Oct 12: Cultivation of High-value crops is very relevant to the north-eastern region given its small landholding pattern, said Sunita Rai, Assistant General Manager of Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) while speaking at a Seminar organized by Indian Chamber of Commerce here today on Challenges and prospects of High value horticulture crops in the Northeast.
Over the years, value of commercial horticulture has emerged as one of the potential agricultural enterprises in accelerating the growth of economy. Its role in the country’s nutritional security, poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes is becoming increasingly important. It is felt the need for high-value horticulture, policy issues related to water, procurement price, value addition, post-harvest processing, nutrient based fertilizer subsidy and other factors need to be developed.
Ishantor Sobhapandit, Regional Director, Indian Chamber of Commerce stated that in taking India to newer heights of agro and food processing capabilities, the north-eastern region (NER) can play a major role by leveraging its natural and human resources.
Attending the occasion, Spices Board of India scientist TN Deka highlighted various problems related to pre-harvesting of various high-value spices in the Northeast, while Malay Mandal, Addl. General Manager, MSTC Limited elaborated various e–auction facilities of his company. On the Other hand, Khagendra Shama, Sr Agriculture Development officer, Directorate of Horticulture and Food Processing stressed the need for crop diversification in the horticulture area.
Notably, Northeast India produces a large number of fruits, vegetable and spices having high commercial value. The plain and valley lands of the Northeast are suitable for most of the commercially produced tropical and subtropical fruit crops like banana, pineapple, citrus fruits, coconut, jackfruit, papaya, litchi, guava etc. However, banana, pineapple, citrus, papaya, peas, plum, peach apple, etc are also widely grown in hills of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Areca nut, betel vine and several spice crops are grown throughout the region. Enormous variations of crops as well as practice of growing vegetables both in kharif and Rabi are seen in the region.