Agartala : Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is of the view that landlocked Tripura has considerable potential in terms of developing its fruit processing industry since the agro-climatic condition is favourable for horticulture.
Addressing a day-long conference on linking prospective food entrepreneurs with government schemes and the market, which was organised by ASSOCHAM in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Sarkar highlighted the food processing sector in the region and urged those involved with the sector to utilise the vast potential of raw horticultural produce through various financial assistance schemes and agencies like MSME, NHB, APEDA, NABARD, QCI, NHM, NERAMAC, public and private sector banks and other financial institutions.
“The discussion which is going on fruit processing is very relevant, as at present, we cannot think about setting up of mineral-based industries, and it will not be profitable. In our state, there are huge agri-alite raw materials and, if we can process it, or go for value addition, then it shall fetch a better price from the market. here till now. I will request ASSOCHAM that they should not only communicate knowledge on how it should be done but also bring investors from outside,” said Sarkar.
He added that in spite of the state being small in size, it is well known and among the top India fruit producing state, and especially in pineapple production it globally renowned for producing the best quality with huge scope of development by value addition.
Sarkar further said: “In present scenario, when production has gone down, still we are at fifth position.”
“We have two types of pineapples. One is small, which we call “Que” and the bigger one is known as “Queen”. The small is juicy and sweet, and according to many, it is the tastiest one found in India. The bigger is a little less sweet but more juicer and, if it is canned, then it can be exported. The small one also has scope of processing for packet products and NERAMAC under NEC had started it, but now it has stopped,” he added.
“We are fifth in pineapple production, in Litchi, we are seventh, fifth in groundnut production, I am not sure what is our position in jack fruit production, but I believe we should be within fifth position, but no one thinks about them,” Sarkar said.
“This is the position of fruit production in our state. Besides, we do not have to bring vegetable from outside except those which do not grow here. There are two or three vegetables which we produce in excess and send them outside,” the chief minister said.
He said there is need for supporting the youth of Tripura in nurturing their entrepreneurship skills. He said that through financial assistance schemes, start-ups, budding entrepreneurs and the food processing sector could be promoted aggressively.
Sarkar highlighted the growth of agriculture and the processed food sector in the North-East region while comparing it with the overall growth of the economy of Tripura.
He said that focus for development should be on food processing which is one of the major sectors with unexplored scope to strengthen the economy of Tripura.
Professor. Anjan Mukherjee, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Tripura University, MP (Lok Sabha) Jitendra Chaudhury, M Nagar Raju, Secretary, Department of Industry and Commerce of Tripura and other dignitaries also addressed the gathering at the conference held at Pragnya Bhavan in Agartala. (ANI)