From A Correspondent
Ampati, Aug 18: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma started a social mobilization campaign on “Horticulture Mission”, coupled with distribution of agar, coconut and drumstick (moringa) saplings to the partners from Betasing and Zikzak C&RD blocks at Ampati and Zikzak in South West Garo Hills district on Friday.
The social mobilization and sapling distribution programme was also attended by Salmanpara MLA and ruling coalition’s chief whip WD Sangma, Mahendraganj MLA and chairperson of Meghalaya Resources & Employment Generation Council Dikkanchi D Shira, among others.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that it was necessary to have such social mobilization campaigns in order to create awareness and generate support from the masses so that the mission becomes successful and the farmers can reap full benefits from such programmes.
He also said that officials should organize such mobilization and sensitization programmes for the farmers before going ahead with the distribution of saplings in their respective districts and blocks.
Highlighting the values and uses of agar and coconut plants, Sangma also said that the programme was aimed at fulfilling the objective of creating livelihood opportunities through plantation of high-value crops like agar, coconut and bamboo, along with black pepper and other plants, which would not only give remunerative returns to the farmers but also take care of the adverse effects of environmental degradation.
He urged the farmers to take up plantation of these crops on a large scale because only then the government would be able to tie up with investors to open up factories to create value chain of their products.
Regarding the mece of elephants causing destruction to crops and plantations in certain areas of the district, Sangma said, “The government is coming up with a scheme for distribution of citrus plantation, which the farmers can plant as a tural fencing to protect their plantations.” He also informed the gathering about the scheme for plantation of fruit-bearing trees, among others, adding that sanction has been given to the farmers for planting material component.
While the agar and coconut saplings were distributed through agriculture-horticulture schemes under the Horticulture Mission, the distribution of drumstick saplings was part of the Chief Minister’s own initiative to promote plantation of high-value nutritive crops.