SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) through the IFAD support Megha-LAMP project, and Food Resilience Through Root and Tuber Crops in Upland and Coastal Communities of the Asia-Pacific (FoodSTART+) conducted a business launch of six People’s Organizations (PO) enrolled in the Farmer Business School (FBS) from East Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills, at the State Convention Centre, Shillong on Tuesday.
The business launch was part of the 3rd Annual Partners’ Meet of the project, which is an international meeting of farmers’ groups, facilitators, market and value chain players and other stakeholders of the project to share experiences and learnings, and for the farmers to make business pitches to buyers and market players. The business launch was formally inaugurated by the Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Prestone Tynsong, and featured an exhibition of a variety of root and tuber products developed by the POs such as cassava chips, cassava flour, potato seeds, table potatoes of different varieties and many more. Countries that participated included Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. Additionally, representatives of IFAD support projects from Nagaland and Mizoram were also present.
This is the first time for India to host this meeting, and the six FBS PO involved are the first of their kind to be established in the country through the FoodSTART and FoodSTART+ projects, based on their initiative that was first implemented in Indonesia by the International Potato Center through the initiative of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in 2008. During his speech, the Deputy Chief Minister stated that roots and tubers have been an integral part of the food habits of the indigenous people of the state, recollecting his own personal experience on how sweet potato and cassava had once pull the state out of hunger during the India-Pakistan tension when Bangladesh was still a part of Pakistan.