Sarbananda Sonowal lauds agricultural sector
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday said farmers and agri entrepreneurs did business worth Rs 357 crore during the lockdown, of which Rs 126 crore came from exporting produce within the region and outside.
After taking stock of agricultural activities at Maloibari in Kamrup (metro) district here, Sonowal said his government was, along with fighting the Covid threat, also laying emphasis on resumption of economic activities and that farmers were leading the way during the lockdown by sending produce to other states.
Giving details of the Rs 357 crore business, officials said Rs 231 crore of agri produce was sold within Assam and Rs 126 crore outside, including all northeastern states, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, through authorised 5,433 vendors between March 30 and May 10.
The horticulture director, J. Ahmed, said Manipur imported the highest amount within the Northeast.
“Of the Rs 126 crore, Assam exported vegetables worth Rs 67.80 crore, fruits Rs 5.71 crore and spices 2.93 crore. We exported banana, tamarind, maize, moong, potato, water melon and ginger. The government provided the logistic support to send the produce by road. Manipur imported the most within the Northeast. Bihar and Haryana imported tamarind while Bengal imported potato, maize and banana,” Jalil said.
Darrang, Dhubri, Barpeta, Golaghat, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Karbi Anglong and Baksa were the “exporting” districts.
From Maloibari, Sonowal also visited the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) in the city and stressed the need for IIE, agriculture, industry and line departments to work cohesively to achieve the goal of Atma Nirbhar Assam (self-reliant Assam) through economic empowerment.
Informing that there is more than Rs 2,000 crore with the 2,200 gaon panchayats (GPs) of the state, which they received under 14th Finance Commission, Sonowal called on the IIE to devise strategies for proper utilisation of the funds as the gaon panchayats do not possess technical wherewithal for the same.
Sonowal said IIE must play a pivotal role in identifying capacity of the youths returning from outside and equipping them with required skills for the economic growth of the state. “If 5,000 youths are provided placement or given self-employment opportunities in the first phase, other people would be encouraged to come forward for skill training.”