Guwahati: Governor of Manipur, Najma Heptulla said, that Start-ups and micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the food processing sector will help generate employment opportunities in Manipur, and will put the state on fast growth trajectory.
The Governor stated this at the inauguration of a conference on Startups and MSMEs in Food Processing, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) in Imphal recently.
The meet was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), ICAR for the North-Eastern Hill (NEH) Region, Imphal, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).
Heptulla expressed the need to promote food processing industry in the state, as it would immensely help in reducing post-harvest wastage, and directly add to the incomes of the farmers at the bottom of the pyramid.
She added that since Manipur is primarily dependent on agriculture, food processing will be its natural progression for all rounded development. To begin with, special emphasis must be given to home based cottage industries, wherein women can be engaged in a big way, and then gradually move up to big set-ups.
Start-ups and MSMEs working or planning to work in this sector will have huge benefit of the abundant resources, and raw materials available in the state. To make the food processing sector successful in Manipur, many schemes have been started by both the Central and the state governments. These include Startup India, Standup India and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.
Heptulla further said that since Manipur was at a nascent stage for development of the start-up and MSME ecosystem, this was the right time to arrange such seminars and make the people aware. She advocated single-window clearance/processing of loans to the farmers and budding entrepreneurs to encourage them to set up businesses in the state.
She also mentioned that apart from food processing, cotton processing should also be taken up in a big way in the state. She concluded her address by saying that dissemination of information regarding government schemes was the key, as the majority of the population did not know about the schemes designed and implemented for them, thus they could not benefit from them.
Presiding over the Conference Y Joykumar Singh, deputy chief minister, Manipur, stated that the topic of the conference was very relevant to the state, as its government was aggressively focussing on "Make in Manipur", and thanked Assocham for the initiative.
He further added that the importance of new technology like biotechnology, new irrigation techniques, which can increase agricultural production, and, in turn, will provide enough produce for consumption, processing and exports.
Singh advised the farming community to follow crop rotation, as the same crop grown again and again on a piece of land with the same fertilisers tend to degrade its fertility. Crop diversification will add to the incomes of the farmers.
He added that on-ground initiatives are being taken by his government to develop the start-up and MSME sector of the state, and special focus is being laid on food processing.
Singh said that state government was taking numerous steps to make Manipur number one in organic farming.
He suggested solutions like air-lifting to the problem of goods transportation to the landlocked places of the state and advised the officials attending the conference to look into the feasibility of the same.