SHILLONG: Conrad K. Sangma, the chief minister of Meghalaya, introduced a special grant of Rs. 13 crore for the development of the tourism industry infrastructure and facilities on Nongkhnum Island in the West Khasi Hills on Monday.
Nongkhnum, after Majuli in Assam, is Asia's second-largest river island.
The Meghalaya chief minister paid a visit to the island with his family, joined by officials from the district administration.
The Chief Minister was in Nongstoin to meet with Producer Groups (PGs), which were created as part of the state government's Farmers' Collectivization for Upscaling of Production and Marketing Systems (FOCUS) project.
In a meeting with farmers, the Meghalaya Chief Minister said that the state government had set aside Rs. 200 crore for a farmers' welfare scheme. He stated that the government is eager to learn about farmers' difficulties and concerns in order to develop policies that would benefit them the most.
"FOCUS is a creative social program in which the government assures that farmers may improve their production, gain access to loans, and boost their market access," he said. "He also used the opportunity to educate the crowd that the government is working hard to enhance road connectivity in the area," the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement (CMO).
The Meghalaya Basin Management Authority (MBMA), the nodal implementing body for this ambitious initiative, finds production clusters of marketable food, concentrates on Value Chain Analysis of the produce, and forms bottom-up local collectives known as Producer Groups (PGs).
The nodal institution also works on finding and equipping extension service providers known as Service Producers (SPs), as well as bringing together well-functioning PGs to establish big collectives in the form of Cooperative Societies and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). All PGs and chosen Service Providers get funding to engage in designated value chain related activities.
Producer Group formation in the West Khasi Hills area began in March 2021 in Mawshynrut Block and continued in Nongstoin Block from July 2021 onwards, with a total of 183 groups constituted.
Cheques were presented to PGs by the Meghalaya Chief Minister and local MLA Macmillan Byrsat. A total of Rs 21,95,000.00 was awarded to 36 Producer Groups via the FOCUS Program.