|Photo 1: Shri. Conrad K. Sangma, Hon'ble Chief Minister inaugurating the |
Webinar in presence of Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya
The Government of Meghalaya in collaboration with various National Institutes, product development Institutes, academic Institutes, Export Associations, Traders based in Shillong and other States of the country and innovators in the agriculture and allied sector organised a two day webinar in an effort to prepare a roadmap for agriculture and allied sectors in Meghalaya for a 5 years, 10 years and 20 years.
The Webinar entitled “Meghalaya’s Agri Vision 2040,” the first such online event of this scale was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Shri Conrad K. Sangma on 10th July, 2020 in the presence of the Chief Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Shri M. S. Rao, Principal Secretary Agriculture Dr.S.Ahaamed and departmental officials. The Webinar was also participated by various products specific institutions, academia, Scientists and practitioners, such as National Institute of Immunology, CGSIR, ICAR, CAU, NEHU (Tura campus), NRC Banana Kochi, Jackfruit processing Centre, National Institute for Mushroom Solan, Himachal Pradesh, Sadhana Forest, CPRS, CIMAP, CIH, NCCD and local entrepreneurs, logistic managers like Rapsang group, Weilabha Meat Processing discussed and deliberated the way forward for the agricultural and allied sector in Meghalaya. The sessions included product specific issues for rice, maize, lakadong turmeric, local fruits and vegetables, dairy sector, poultry sector, piggery sector, fishery and new technology in agriculture and horticulture like hydroponics.
The United Nations’ first ten innovators winner and Managing Director of Future Farms, Shri Gopal while addressing the webinar offered to establish a centre in Shillong to help promote and support young entrepreneurs to take up hydroponics in Meghalaya. Dr. S. Uma, Director of NRC, offered assistants in setting up a banana processing center in Garo Hills.
|Photo 2: A View of the Participants of the Webinar conducted on Cisco WEBEX|
The 2 days online Webinar witnessed a total participation of 1509 participants from all over the country and also from abroad clocking a total of 991 online minutes on both days. The first day recorded 832 participants while the second day recorded 675 participants. The cumulative participant’s minutes clocked by all the participants of the 2 days webinar total to a whopping 95,384 minutes. This is indicative of the high level of interest that the webinar has managed to enthrall the participants, from Scientists, Subject Matter Specialists, Practitioners, State Government officials, Officers of the Department of Agriculture and allied sectors, Farmers, Citizens, Business people, Academician, Students and Enthusiasts.
|Photo 3: Participants from Ri-Bhoi District|
The Webinar was also participated by the Hills Farmers Union represented by the President and Secretary respectively. They have also expressed their views that farmers need quality seeds, inputs, manures, cool chain refer vans and market linkages. They also expressed that technology led development of farmers is the need in order to move ahead in the years ahead.
Shri. K.N Kumar(Retd IAS) and Chairman Meghalaya Farmers Commission who also joined the webinar from Hyderabad stated that farmers in Meghalaya are loosely organised and this leads to poor collectivisation. He also opined that the reach of the State Government and the Department schemes is not up to the mark and there is much more ground to be covered. He expressed his views that farmers should not sell only raw produces but should be encouraged and capacitated to sell only value added products in order to get better value to their hard work.
Subsequent to this, it was decided that the Department will bring up a compendium which is sector specific with detailed interactions with all stakeholders, practitioners, experts and farmers. The wrap up session was held on 11th July, 2020 and was attended by the farmer’s commission, Hills Farmers Union, and various stakeholders and was addressed by the Principal Secretary of Agriculture Shri P. Shakil Ahamed. Overall, the webinar was highly interactive and interesting which facilitated a forum for the farmers, practitioners, innovators and academia and policy makers to openly probe ideas, discuss issues and come to a conclusion in preparing a time-bound, specific and measurable roadmap for the State of Meghalaya, which will include a short term, medium term and long term strategy for the State.
|Photo 4: Participants attending from East Garo Hills district of the State|
On the second day, the Principal Secretary Agriculture, Dr. S.Ahamed, IAS in his concluding remarks thanked all the participants who attended the webinar on both days, He said that without farmers, we are nothing and the time now is to go back to basics. As a State we need to be self sufficient in food production and farmers are the fulcrum of the State’s strategy to achieve this goal. He stressed on the need to make farming remunerative, sustainable and profitable.
(With inputs from DIPR and Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Meghalaya)