The Government initiatives have helped the North-East (NE) region witness more than 85% export growth in last six years. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Middle East, UK, Europe are major destination for export of NER products. 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.

APEDA has signed an MoU with Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat to conduct various training programmes on pre-harvest and post-harvest management and other research activities. 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% growth in the export of agricultural products in the last six years as it increased from US$2.52 million in 2016-17 to US$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 (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.

APEDA also organised organized conference on the Export Potential of Natural, Organic and Geographical Indications (GI) Agro Products in Guwahati on June 24, 2022 to tap the abundant export potential of organic agricultural products from Assam and neighbouring states of NER.

APEDA aims at creating a platform in Assam for the exporters to get the products directly from the producer group and the processers. The platform will link the producers and processors of Assam and exporters from other parts of the country that would expand the base of the export pockets in the North-Eastern states, including Assam and increase the employment opportunities among the people of the state.

“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 says.

APEDA has also planned to undertake several other projects like capacity building of 80 budding entrepreneurs and exporters from the region, the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) and the state govt. officials, organize skill development and training in food processing, value addition on horticultural produce, etc. APEDA has also planned to facilitate capacity building to officials of the Assam Agriculture Department and selected officials would be sent in batches to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

FICCI-Govt Meet on PPP in Farm

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India in association with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a conference on ‘Scope of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Agriculture’ in New Delhi on July 12.

Mr. Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India delivered the Keynote address on Government’s expectations from Industry, focussing on incorporation of the private sector expectation in the formulation of architectural framework for sector development, shared understanding, knowledge & resources for overall development.

In her address Ms. N. Vijayalakshmi, JS (Marketing) laid emphasis on strengthening the four I’s namely Inputs, Infrastructure, Investments and Institutions for developing a conducive ecosystem for PPP projects in Agriculture. Mr. Samuel Praveen Kumar, Joint Secretary (Extension, AIF and I&PS), Dept. of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare mentioned about de-risking of agriculture and stressed the need for developing scalable, viable and replicable business models while leveraging the strengths of public and private sectors to have a “win-win” situation.

Mr.Pravesh Sharma, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on FPOs, in his address referred to the need for developing synergy between government and private players for a focused approach for investments towards Technology, Capital and Market Linkage.Several Industry experts highlighted the various gaps such as ‘Knowledge gaps to farmers, lack of basic infrastructure, quality of Inputs etc as the major areas of concern. Some of them also highlighted the issue of Ministries/Departments and stakeholders working in silos.

The session on States perspective on PPP in Agriculture was chaired by Mr. Samuel Praveen Kumar and moderated by Mr. Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Start-ups.States pointed out issues like need for Farm gate Infrastructure for Grading, Sorting and primary processing of produce to reduce Post harvest losses, logistic services to work in sync with the producers, Infrastructure to meet export requirements, Open network to collect data directly for the farmers & Knowledge distribution.

The consultation was attended by more than 100 participants comprising of diverse stakeholders including state government representatives, Agritech start-ups, Private sector players, FPO members, Agri industry experts & Investors.