12 July 2022, New Delhi: To give boost to the export of horticulture products grown in North-Eastern (NE) states, the government is now up with a robust strategy to promote locally produced agricultural products to the international markets. The NE region is geopolitically important as it shares international boundaries with China and Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh making it the potential hub for the export of agricultural produce to neighbouring countries as well as other foreign destinations.
As a result, there has been a significant increase in the export of agricultural produce from NE states like Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Meghalaya in the last few years. The NE region witnessed an 85.34 percent growth in the export of agricultural products in the last six years as it increased from USD 2.52 million in 2016-17 to USD 17.2 million in 2021-22. The major destination of export has been Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Middle East, the UK and Europe.
To provide potential market linkages, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development and Authority (APEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, organised field visits of importers to have first-hand information about the qualitative cultivation practices being followed by farmers. Importers were mostly the Middle East, far Eastern countries, and European nations and Australia, etc.
In the last three years, APEDA organised 136 capacity building programmes on export awareness across the different parts of NER. Highest, 62 capacity building programmes were held in NER in 2019-20, while 21 in 2020-21 and 53 such programmes were organised by APEDA in the year 2021-22. Apart from capacity building initiatives, APEDA facilitated 22 International Buyer-Seller Meets as well as trade fairs in NER in the last three years.
The APEDA promoted GI products from NER like Bhut Jolokia, Assam Lemon, etc drew the attention of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who had mentioned it during his Maan Ki Baat programme. Assam Lemon is now exported regularly to London and the Middle East and as of now, more than 50 MT of Assam Lemon has been exported. Several consignments of litchi and pumpkin have also been exported by APEDA from Assam to different countries.
“Assam and the other states of North East Region have a favourable climate condition and the soil type for growing almost all agricultural and horticultural crops. As most of NER’s boundaries are shared with nations like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China, there are possibilities of enhancing exports from the region,” APEDA Chairman Dr M Angamuthu said.
APEDA also facilitated a workshop on Food Quality and Safety Management for Export of Processed Food Products from NER at Ri Bhoi in Meghalaya and Dibrugarh in Assam for boosting exports of agricultural and processed food products from NER through sustainable food value chain development.
With the APEDA’s intervention, Tripura’s Jack fruit was exported to London, and Nagaland’s King Chilli to London through a local exporter for the first time. Also, Assam’s local fruit called Leteku (Burmese Grape) was exported to Dubai and Assam’s Betel leaves have been regularly exported to London.
Tapping the export potential of pork and pork products, APEDA assisted the Assam Govt in setting up a modern pork processing facility at Nazira which has a slaughtering capacity of 400 animals per day. The unit is ready and set to be commissioned soon.