Increasing business transactions with Myanmar, China and Bangladesh

Mamuni Das

Betterment efforts

The north eastern

State governments must improve governance with thrust on security issues.

With its unique

natural advantages, the region provides scope for many industrial activities.

Dimapur, March 28

Hardselling the north eastern region to the investors, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, has said that there is a huge domestic demand that can be serviced from this region.

Each State in this region has its unique natural advantages, which provides scope for many industrial activities, he pointed out.

He also asked the north eastern State Governments to improve governance in the region including security issues.

He added that the Central Government would support investors' moves towards increasing business transaction between north eastern States and the neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, China and Bangladesh.

He added that India is on its way to become one of the leading food nations of the world.

While agricultural trade is still a matter of negotiation at global level, he stressed that the vast domestic market of 300 million middle-class Indian consumers presents great opportunities.

Diet market

Tastes are expanding to include mushrooms, strawberries and processed food, which were earlier considered exotic. "Consumers do not want to wait for the right season and the North-East with its unique climatic conditions is well poised to meet requirements," he said.

The diet market is transforming with more consumption of dairy products, fruits and vegetables and there is an increasing demand for high quality produce.

Farmers are quickly responding to this demand and there is a visible shift from foodgrains to agriculture.

Specialities

While speaking at the Agri Expo 2006 organised by the CII, he also listed the specialities of each region for the investors. While Arunachal Pradesh is home to 60 per cent of the country's orchids species, Assam specialises in high quality tea; Manipur can become a fruit bowl for the country and Meghalaya has climatic conditions favourable for spices, especially ginger.

Moreover, Mizoram produces 14 per cent of bamboo in the country; Nagaland could be a centre for silk worms; Sikkim is the largest producer of cardamom and Tripura is the second rubber capital of the country.

India is all set to put a stable supply chain in place including backward and forward linkages, alternative marketing opportunities through terminal markets and collection centres enabling farmers to get remunerative prices, grading, packaging and transport.

He also said that moves such as the integrated food law, converging 13 pieces of legislations, for promoting food processing; the Warehouse receipts law, formulated to make warehouse receipt negotiable; the Essential Commodities Act retaining just a handful (seven) of commodities as essential would make the sector investor friendly.

In order to help North-East merge as a major hub for horticulture and related products, Mr Pawar also laid the foundation stone of the Central Institute of Horticulture here. An investment of Rs 5 crore would go towards the institute in 2006-07 fiscal year, to be built over a space of 43.5 hectares, followed by an additional Rs 15 crore over the next four years.

Several leaders from the north eastern States pointed out the need to set up food processing industries given the wide coverage of material here as transportation costs are very high.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 29, 2006)
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