IMPHAL, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 (DIPR): Patanjali Ayurved Limited wich is the fastest growing FMCG Company in India may soon provide a global market for the black rice grown in Manipur and other horticulture products of the State. A delegate of the group led by Acharya Balkrishna, co-founder and Managing Director of Patanjali Food and Herbal Park was accorded a grand welcome on his maiden visit at the Imphal International Airport today.

Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister, Dr. J. Suresh Babu, Additional Chief Secretary (Horticulture and Soil Conservation), K Kipgen, Director Horticulture and Soil Conservation along with department officials and State Patanjali members received Acharya Balkrishan at the airport.

Later at Hotel Classic Grande, Chingmeirong, a presentation was given by Director K Kipgen on the points – key herbs, seasons, area of cultivation and prices of the herbs cultivated in the State and why Manipur is favourable for pineapple juice plant. In his presentation, K. Kipgen said that by default organic cultivation of pineapple is done in the State and it is famous for its high quality of juice content. He said the State is able to produce 1,28,361 Metric Tonnes (MT) of pineapple.

In the coming years, the Horticulture Department is setting a target to take new plantation area of pineapple to over 1200 hectare under CSS-MIDH Scheme and another 600 hectare will be added under Central Scheme of MOVCD-NER. Key producing cluster in the State are – Andro, Thayong, Waithou, Chiru, Thiyam, Konjin in Imphal East district, Salungpham, Tairenbikhok, Saram, Poirou Tangkhul in Thoubal and Khousabung in Churachandpur.

Thounaojam Shyamkumar, speaking at the gathering, attended by Patanjali team and Horticulture Department officials, expressed happiness over the maiden visit of Acharya Balkrishna in the State. Stating that the Manipur is abundant in Horticulture products like ginger, black rice, turmeric, pineapple, Th. Shyamkumar appealed to the Patanjali team to buy products from the State and ensured that the faithful farmers of the State are ready to supply the required amount. He appealed to the Patanjali team to help in promoting products of the State as there is no market.

Dr. J. Suresh Babu said the first priority will be given to local products which can be processed in the State. Secondly the products which cannot be processed here can be taken to Patanjali and other nearest processing units. Suresh Babu said that it is time that the local products are given value addition, processed here and also exported in South East Asia through Imphal-Moreh National Highway which is also the Trans Asian Highway No. 1.

Stating that the State’s biggest challenge is the lack of storage and transportation, Suresh Babu said that about 20-25% of perishable agricultural products are wasted due to lack of storage facility which he termed as “unwanted situation”. He said in case a unit comes up in the State, we need to ensure that farmers are able to supply the required products.

Acharya Balkrishna said that despite the abundance of natural products, the State and the farmers are not receiving full benefits due to long distance from the mainland India. He said that, Patanjali will help in taking the products of the State to the corners of the world and will fully cooperate in making the dreams of the Horticulture Department come true.

He said that there is a need for discussion on how farmers can be given full dues for their cultivation, how the products can be processed in the State and which crops/herbs cultivation can be taken up immediately. He said there is also requirement of local branding of products like Manipur’s black rice which is beneficial for the health. He further said that Patanjali is ready to take initiative as there is full cooperation from the State Government and the farmers.

Later, Minister Th. Shyamkumar along with Acharya Balkrishna and Patanjali team went to look for sites for medicinal plant and pineapple juice extraction plant at Andro, Thoubal and Muirei village in Ukhrul district.

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