The Agriculture Department will encourage farmers to brand their produce with a geographical tag in order to boost interest, consumer loyalty and, it is hoped, farmer incomes, Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh has said.
“Our agricultural produce is famous in other parts of the country (perhaps referring to Lakadong turmeric, etc) but we are yet to start labelling this produce. Once we do I am sure there will be healthy competition among the farmers to out-do each other,” the minister said.
The Mawkynrew MLA said this while speaking at a function organised by the agriculture cell of the Federation of Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) at Maw-U-Sam.
If, for example, a particular village in West Khasi Hills produces the most delicious cabbages, labelling them as having grown in that area will increase demand from buyers and encourage farmers to increase output. However, safeguards need to be in place to see that villages in other districts do not pass off their own cabbages as being from West Khasi Hills.
Lyngdoh also said that agriculture in Meghalaya is currently haphazard and lacks planning.
“If one farmer in a particular area takes up cabbage farming, everyone will follow suit and once it reaches the market it will have a negative effect on the price,” he said.
The minister urged the farmers to start farming other products that are suitable to a particular area so that consumers get a range of vegetables to choose from.
Lyngdoh said that if labelling vegetables and fruits of the state is initiated, demand from other parts of the country will increase as consumers are looking for organic products.