Port Blair, Feb 19: The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr. Chetan B Sanghi has called for synergy between Govt. Officials and entrepreneurs so as to exchange ideas and technology in promotion of entrepreneurship and that the benefits of various schemes launched by the Government should reach the target group. He stated this while inaugurating the ‘Andaman Food Tech Conclave’ in the conference hall of Megapode Resort here today as the chief guest. Agriculture, fisheries and animal husbandry are the thrust areas that need to be promoted in the Islands, to meet the market demand, presently being solely depends on import of goods from the mainland, he said.
The Chief Secretary said that there is huge potential in fisheries sector, which has not been exploited in large scale for export purpose, using technology to add value to the marine products. The Prime Minister, during his visit to the Islands had announced various projects for economic development of these Islands and the Islands entrepreneurs should come forward and make best benefits of those schemes, he said. The Islands have huge potential in sea weed culture and open sea cage culture and NCTC had approved 350 crore for funding such project to assist genuine entrepreneurs, he said.
The Chief Secretary said that steps need to be initiated for promotion of floriculture in the Islands. The Islands have exotic flower species that can be cultivated in large scale, which will add income to the farmers, he said. Besides, preparation of coconut jaggery can also be initiated, he said inviting experts to help provide technology to farmers in this regard. There is a high demand of milk as milk production is very less in the Islands. With the Administration sparking on a scheme of providing milk to anganwadi centers in the rural areas, the milk demand will go up, he said.
The Chief Secretary also mentioned that the Government provides Rs.6000 financial assistance to farmers having two hectare landholding every year. This has been made because the farmers do not get sufficient income from agriculture products, he said and advised all the participants to make best benefit of the conclave. He also advised that whatever suggestions and recommendations from the public and entrepreneurs during the conclave to be taken forward so that the outcome of the conclave would be beneficial to them.
Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary (Agri.), Mr. Krishan Kumar informed that during the last one year of discussion on employment generation, the implementation of those discussions is being closely monitored by the Government so that people are motivated to participate in the implementation of various schemes and take benefit from them. Infrastructure developments like construction of roads are being undertaken, which will help boost the economic development of the Islands, he said expressing hope that the conclave will enhance skills of food processing units in the Islands in carrying out their activities. He also informed that the climate of the Islands is suitable for cultivation of exotic fruits and coconut which needs to be cultivated in large scale.
The Director of Fisheries, Mr. Utpal Kumar highlighted the vast potential in fisheries sector. He said that the fisheries potential of the Islands is not being exploited to the maximum as only 30% is being exploited. The Government is considering opening channel for direct export to South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) from the Islands, which will require increase in fish catch for export, he said stressing the need to set up export oriented processing units in the Islands.
Mr. Ajit Anand, Director of Industries threw light on the significance of the conclave and the various Government schemes being implemented in the Islands.
In her welcome address, Ms Madhuparna Bhowmick, Director, Indian Chamber of Commerce said that promotion of horticulture will not only add income to the farmers, but will also provide opportunity for growth. This workshop will help food processing units to comply in conformity with the quality of packaging, she said. The Government had launched Sampata Yojana, which aims at providing better price to farmers to double their income, she said and stressed the need for focusing on promotion of technology for food processing centers.
The Conclave was organized by the Directorate of Industries, A & N Administration with the support of Ministry of Food Processing Industries, GoI and Indian Chamber of Commerce.
Technical session followed after the inaugural session with participation of Resource persons from Central Food technological Research Institute, Mysuru, Central Islands Agriculture Research Institute, Port Blair, Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjore, Marine Products Export Development Authority of India, MPEDA, Kolkata, CIARI, Port Blair.