Chief Minister Conrad Sangma yesterday inaugurated the MeghFarm Processing Hub and Tikrikilla PRIME Hub at Khamari, Tikrikilla, West Garo Hills.
The MeghFarm Processing Hub with a capacity of 80 to 100 metric tons was established at a cost of Rs. 14.5 crore.
The MeghFarm Processing Hub is equipped with cutting-edge technology and has a juice plant, dehydration plant, blast freezer, and other equipment that 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.
“The MeghFarm Processing Hub will ensure that the agricultural produce is preserved to the highest standards, extending its shelf life and enhancing its market value,” Sangma said, adding that wastage of agricultural produce has resulted in huge losses to farmers across the Garo Hills region.
He also said 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 waste.
“These processing units with the best technology run entirely on solar power, thus advancing green, alternative, and sustainable energy,” he added.
Sangma also informed that through mentorship support, the government aims to unlock the potential of entrepreneurs.
“Such mentorship and training for farmers and entrepreneurs will be given in the PRIME Hubs,” he said.
Informing that the establishment of MeghFarm in the region will have a transformative impact on over 10,000 farmers, enriching their lives and bringing prosperity, Sangma said, “The MeghFarm, through its various components besides the processing and entrepreneurial components, will serve as an education consultancy office, a skill development centre, a youth entrepreneurship office, a tourism office, and a construction office.”
He added that all these segments under one roof will address the diverse needs of the community, driving growth and empowerment.
Sangma also said that the State government plans to set up 50 MeghFarm processing units and PRIME Hubs in all blocks throughout Meghalaya, marking an agricultural revolution in the State.
He also said that pineapples, jackfruit, and oranges, which are a specialty of the Garo Hills region, will gain more 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 that are doing exceptionally well,” he said.
Sangma further said that though there is an abundance of natural resources, in the absence of facilities, most of the products that are perishable are going to waste. But through the setting up of processing plants and the 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.
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 the Community Investment Fund, an amount of Rs 1.23 crore was handed to sixteen village organisations.
Also present at the programme were Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal, Tura MP Agatha Sangma, Raksamgre MLA Limison Sangma, Salmanpara MLA Ian Botham K. Sangma, and Selsella MLA Arbinstone Marak.