Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday inaugurated the MeghFarm Processing Hub and Tikrikilla PRIME Hub at Khamari, Tikrikilla, West Garo Hills, in presence of Power Minister A T Mondal, Lok Sabha MP Agatha K Sangma, MLA, Raksamgre, Limison Sangma, MLA, Salamnapara, Ian Botham K Sangma and MLA, Selsella, Arbinstone Marak.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that wastage of agricultural produce has resulted in huge loss to farmers across Garo Hills region. “The MeghFarm Processing Hub with capacity of 80 to 100 tons will ensure that the agricultural produce is preserved to the highest standards, extending its shelf life and enhancing its market value,” he said and informed the project has been established at the cost of Rs. 14.5 cr.
The Chief Minister also informed that through mentorship support the government aims to unlock the potential of the Entrepreneurs. “Such mentorship and training to farmers and entrepreneurs will be given in the PRIME Hubs,” he said. He also informed that the establishment of MeghFarm in the region will have a transformative impact on over 10,000 farmers enriching lives and brining prosperity.
“The MeghFarm thorough its various components besides the processing and entrepreneurial components will serve as education consultancy office, skill development centre, youth entrepreneurship office, tourism office and construction office,” he said. He added that all these segments under one roof will address the diverse needs of the community driving growth and empowerment.
He also told that the provision of cold storage and processing plants in rural areas is giving farmers the opportunity to reap greater benefits for their produce by limiting wastage. “These processing units with the best technology run entirely on solar power thus advancing a green, alternative and sustainable energy,” he said.
“We plan to set up 50 MeghFarm processing units and PRIME Hubs in all Blocks throughout Meghalaya, marking an agricultural revolution in the State”, he added and also said that pineapples, jackfruit and oranges that are a specialty of Garo Hills region will gain bigger value as processed products for which there is a high demand in the global market. He also added that recognising the success and hard work of cooperatives in the state the government will set up around 300 mini processing and mini cold storage units across the state. ‘This will to a large extent benefit the cooperative societies who are doing exceptionally well,” he stated.
The Chief Minister further said though there is an abundance of natural resources but in absence of facilities most of the products which are perishables were going to waste but through the setting up of Processing Plants and through capacity building of the farmers the issue is being addressed and the farmers are also being empowered across the state through infrastructure, value chain and market linkage.
The MeghFarm Processing Hub is equipped with cutting-edge technology and has a juice plant, dehydration plant, blast freezer and other equipment which will ensure quality standards.
The PRIME Hub or centre for innovation, incubation and skill development for entrepreneurs at Tikrikilla will further the entrepreneurial aspirations of farmers and entrepreneurs.
During the programme, the Chief Minister and other dignitaries gave awards to Cooperatives under the Tikrikilla block for their excellence in Cooperative Movement and Farm Activities.
Under Community Investment Fund, an amount of of Rs 1.23 Cr were handed to sixteen Village Organisations.