NEW DELHI, Nov 4: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today visited the Northeast Pavilion, set up by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), as a part of the three-day “World Food India 2017” Festival at India Gate here.
Pertinent to mention, the union Ministry of DoNER is a partner in hosting this event along with the Union Ministry of Food Processing & Industries.
Speaking to media persons after going around the various food-stalls at the Northeast Pavilion, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the vast potential for food production and food industry in Northeast has largely remained unexplored and suffered neglect over the last several decades. He said, a concentrated effort has been made by the Ministry of DoNER, with the personal intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to showcase the enormous food resources and entrepreneurship avenues of food industry to the rest of the country and the world. The present event being hosted in the national capital is also a part of the same endeavor, he added.
So little is known about the vast resources of Northeast, Dr Jitendra Singh said that while 45% of the total pineapple production of India comes from Northeast, it is also the largest producer of large cardamom. Very few people know, he said, that North Eastern region is the fourth largest producer of oranges in India.
Like the versatility of Northeast’s picturesque beauty, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the food products also demonstrate a wide range of versatility. For example, he said, Northeast is the home for 50 species of bamboo, 6000 rice lines, 14 species of banana, 17 species of citrus and wide range of medicinal and aromatic plants. The present Government, he said, has ensured that there are three mega Food Parks in the region, including Northeast Food Park in Assam, Sikaria Mega Food Park in Tripura and Zoram Mega Food Park in Mizoram.
Not only Sikkim was the first State to be declared as the “Organic State” of India, Dr Jitendra Singh disclosed that the Ministry of DoNER has along with the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare initiated a milestone scheme called “Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region” (MOVCD-NER) which is designed to foster the socio-economic development of the farming community in all the eight States of the region.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the last three years, more and more number of young entrepreneurs and Startups are showing interest. He reiterated the DoNER’s offer to provide initial Venture Fund to any young Startup who wishes to set up a unit in the region. By setting up food entrepreneurship in Northeast, he said, these youngsters will also be contributing to the cause of India’s “Act East Policy” because their products will have takers across the eastern borders.
During the visit, Dr Jitendra Singh was accompanied by senior officers from the Ministry of DoNER and the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries.