Lemongrass and citronella to begin plantation

Imphal, June 3,: Textiles, Commerce and Industry Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, who also holds the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj portfolio on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the two departments to discuss about convergence between Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Micro Small Medium Enterprises – Cluster Development Programme for plantation and processing of lemongrass and citronella in the state.

Biswajit said the MGNREGS is a wage oriented scheme and several individual and group beneficiary livelihood improvement activities will be taken up under Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Housing, Fisheries, Sericulture and plantation of lemongrass and citronella in convergence with the Industries department under the MGNREGS.

During the meeting, it was agreed upon to start plantation of lemongrass and citronella from this year. The project will be undertaken as a component of the MGNREGS and department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj will procure the saplings and provide them to the job-card holders. Necessary trainings will be conducted under the Industry department.

It was also decided that the Manipur Food Industries Corporation Limited (MFICL) will provide a buy-back policy for the products from the job-card holders.

Biswajit instructed concerned officials of the valley districts to identify suitable sites for the plantation so that it can be taken up. He said in the hill districts since there is vast availability of land, concerned officials should invite all MGNREGS beneficiaries to take part in project.

Managing Director, MFICL, Peter Salam said lemongrass extracts can be used in production of perfumes and green tea leaves, while, citronella extract can be used in production of disinfectants and mosquito repellents.

The meeting was also attended by Dr Suhel Akhtar, additional chief secretary (RDPR), Devesh Dewal, commissioner (TCI), DCs, DPCs and officials of both departments, a DIPR press release said.

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