Other States

In Arunachal Pradesh, armed forces start buying perishables from local farmers

The Arunachal Pradesh government’s initiative for local farmers to tap into the large market the Army and paramilitary forces offer has taken off.

Some strategic parts of Arunachal Pradesh have more armed forces personnel than local people. This presented a scope for local producers of perishable items such as fruits and vegetables to cash in on.

But the inability of the terrain-handicapped local farmers to produce in large quantities and poor market linkage prevented them from competing with large-scale producers in other States such as Assam, Bihar and West Bengal.

An agreement signed among the Arunachal Pradesh Marketing Board (APMB), the Arunachal State Rural Livelihood Mission (ArSLM) and the LAMPS (Large Area Multipurpose Societies) in Tawang and Jang is expected to change the scenario.

On Tuesday, the APMB helped women farmers’ groups and self-help groups supply the local surplus production of fruits and vegetables to the Army units in Bolung in Lower Dibang Valley, Chug in West Kameng and Gunanagar in Namsai district under Mission Krishi Veer.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu hoped this would be the first of many such consignments to the Army and paramilitary forces that have a huge presence in the State had to require a huge quantity of fruits and vegetables for daily consumption.

“Till now they have been procuring their demands from other states as there is no proper system in our state for such purchase in bulk. I have always believed that if the forces could be made customers of our local produce, it would hugely benefit our farmers,” Mr. Khandu said after flagging off the first consignments.

He said Mission Krishi Veery would face teething problems like most new initiatives and would take time to become a well-oiled system. “Beginning with a small step, we can go for a supply of all other products such as meat, fish, eggs and milk,” Mr. Khandu added.

An estimated 50,000 soldiers are stationed in the Kameng sector (includes Tawang) and another 50,000 in the rest of the State.

“At the moment, the demand from the Army is for about 17 tonnes of fruits and 23 tonnes of vegetables per day. Some 8-10% is sourced from Arunachal Pradesh,” APMB’s chief executive officer, Okit Palling said.

He said the State has about 1.17 lakh farmers, cultivating about 5.4 lakh hectares and producing more than 330 tonnes of fruits and 390 tonnes of vegetables per day.

“The only missing link is the inadequate logistical network and cohesion among various stakeholders, which we intend to put in place,” Mr Palling said.

The State government has placed a revolving fund of ₹4 crore to mobilise Mission Krishi Veer.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 2:17:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-arunachal-pradesh-armed-forces-start-buying-perishables-from-local-farmers/article65778368.ece