Manmohan Nath (46) is a Joha rice cultivator from Baksa. He was in a ‘different’ world when Asom Barta met him at the 8th Assam International Agri-horti Show at the College of Veterinary Science Playground, Khanapara in Guwahati. He was enamoured by the vastness and scale of the event which he has been attending since its inception.
“I am a regular to this Show. This is getting bigger and better. We have come with multiple products, including Joha variety of rice. We are getting an encouraging response. We have nearly 200 members in our Joha Farmers Producer Company, Baksa, at present. I am also encouraged to see products from other districts, within Assam and other parts of India,” he told this reporter in a brief interaction.
Ali Akbar Sheikh (32) of Bir Singh Jarua Farmers’ Producer Company, Dhubri is also charmed by the Show. “We have 300 members in our FPC. We are focusing on products made from various types of millets. Besides, we have carrots, brinjals, honey, among others, for visitors. We are receiving an encouraging response. I am participating here for the second time. We have interacted with participants from other countries. If we continue like this, I am sure we will get a new market for our produce,” he told this newsletter.
To showcase the rich diversity of State’s agri-horti production and spot opportunities for agribusiness with other States and countries, the State Agriculture Department organises the Show each year. This year the theme was “Marching Towards Self – Sufficiency, Maximizing Farmers’ Income”.
Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma inaugurated the Show on December 16. In the same event, Dr. Sarma laid the foundation stone of the Daranggiri banana market. This apart, Dr. Sarma virtually laid the foundation stone for the office building of Assam Seed Corporation Limited and ceremonially unveiled its logo.
Addressing the event, he spoke on the importance that the State Government has accorded to the agriculture sector. “The initiative of the State Government to procure paddy at an MSP has led to procurement of six lakh metric tonnes of the crop from as many as 62,000 farmers in Assam. This has led to transfer of an aggregate amount of ₹1,200 cr into the accounts of the farmers and agriculturists,” he informed the gathering adding that the purchase of mustard seeds from farmers has also met with unprecedented enthusiasm.
The Chief Minister said that all steps are being taken to see that farmers are nor deprived of the schemes and policies that have been launched or undertaken for their benefits. “Millet Mission, Fodder Mission, among others, are also being utilised as a medium to support the farmers,” he added. Drawing a comparison between farmers of other States with those from Assam, he emphasised on the importance of dual and multiple cropping besides commercial tree plantation and horticulture.
Referring to products from the State such as lemon, lichi, ginger, Bhoot Jolokia, among others, which have managed to attract attention in markets abroad, the Chief Minister said that scientific cultivation of such species would go a long way in ensuring a niche market.
Dr. Sarma harped on the fact that although the flower market in the State is a ₹100-cr one, flowers cultivated in the State constitute only about 15% of the total demand. He appealed for a transformation of the State into one that is self-sufficient in agriculture and poultry.
Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, in his address, said that the outcome of the last seven Assam International Agri- Horti shows led to the upsurge in the exports of agricultural products from the State.
Bora said that Assam exported agricultural products worth around ₹4,000 cr; tea worth ₹2,200 cr and other agricultural products worth ₹1,800 cr in the financial year 2022-23. “Barring tea, the export trend of agri-horti products from Assam, ranging from ginger, lemon and rice, is on the rise. The Federation of Indian Export Organization has predicted Assam’s agri-horti export will touch ₹10,000 cr mark in 2026-27,” he said, stating that his Department has been extending support to farmers to boost exports.
Mukul Ranjan Pegu (40), the CEO of Jengraimukh Farmers’ Producer Company Limited is one of the beneficiaries of the Agricultural Department’s support.
“Paddy is our main product. Besides, mustard, and black gram. We have exported to foreign shores. People have thronged our outlet in this Expo. By now (December 17), we have almost exhausted our stocks. These are organic products, and hence in demand,” he told this reporter.
Representatives from 11 countries participated in the Show. These countries include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea, Bangladesh, Iran, Bhutan, Serbia, Seychelles and Mongolia. World Bank’s officials were also present during the Show.