From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, Aug 21: Continuing with the social mobilization and distribution of saplings under Horticulture Mission, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said the State government’s focus in this mission was to promote plantation of high-value plants that are indigenous to the region and ensure that farmers generate a lot of income that would benefit generations to come.
The Chief Minister was addressing a huge gathering at Songsak Agitokgre in East Garo Hills before distributing agar, black pepper and drumstick saplings to the beneficiaries in the presence of Minister for School Education & Literacy Deborah C Marak, Parliamentary Secretaries Cherak W Momin and Sengm Marak, local leaders, district officials and farmers, among others, on Monday. Sangma said it was necessary to have social mobilization so that people can be motivated to take ownership of the programme. He urged all village heads to submit list of mes of those who are keen to take up these plantations in their respected villages assuring that the saplings would reach their respective villages once they submit the list.
Stressing on scientific utilization of resources available in the State, Sangma said the government was coming up with a programme called Comprehensive Agriculture Planning under the Mission, through which satellite mapping of agricultural lands of the farmers would be undertaken so that they can identify cultivable land for specific crops.
Reiterating the importance of agar and its multiple uses, the Chief Minister informed the gathering that the State has already been getting many applications for starting a factory for extraction of agar oil, which is famed for its medicil properties. On agar being an endangered species, he dwelt at length on how the State government has framed a policy for plantation and harvesting of agar wood and also explained the method of plantation and inoculation of Agar plants for enhancing their value.
Sangma also gave away cheques to selected villages for starting community nurseries under the Integrated Basin Development & Livelihood Promotion Programme and urged upon the beneficiaries to focus on indigenous and traditiol plants that are of high-value.
Additiol Deputy Commissioner SK Marak and District Horticulture Officer BG Momin, among others, also spoke on the occasion.