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APEDA signs MoU with AAU to Conduct Training Programmes on Pre-harvest, Post-harvest Management

To provide potential market links, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development and Authority (APEDA), which is part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, organized field visits for importers to learn first-hand about farmers' qualitative cultivation practices. Importers primarily came from the Middle East, Far East countries, European nations, and Australia, among others.

Shivam Dwivedi
Assam Agricultural University
Assam Agricultural University

The government has developed a strong strategy to promote locally produced agricultural products to international markets in order to boost the export of horticulture products grown in North-Eastern (NE) states. The Northeast region is geopolitically significant because it shares international borders with China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bangladesh, making it a potential hub for agricultural produce export to neighbouring countries as well as other foreign destinations.

As a result, agricultural exports from NE states such as Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Meghalaya have increased significantly in recent years. In the last six years, the NE region's agricultural product exports increased by 85.34 percent, rising from USD 2.52 million in 2016-17 to USD 17.2 million in 2021-22. Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and Europe have been the top export destinations.

To provide potential market links, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development and Authority (APEDA), which is part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, organized field visits for importers to learn first-hand about farmers' qualitative cultivation practices. Importers primarily came from the Middle East, Far East countries, European nations, and Australia, among others.

APEDA has organized 136 capacity-building programmes on export awareness across NER over the last three years. The most capacity-building programmes were held in NER in 2019-20, with 62, followed by 21 in 2020-21 and 53 by APEDA in 2021-22. Aside from capacity-building initiatives, APEDA has organized 22 International Buyer-Seller Meets and trade fairs in NER over the last three years.

APEDA also organized a conference on the Export Potential of Natural, Organic, and Geographical Indications (GI) Agro Products on June 24, 2022, in Guwahati to tap the abundant export potential of organic agricultural products from Assam and neighbouring NER states.

APEDA plans to establish a platform in Assam for exporters to obtain products directly from the producer group and processers. The platform will connect Assam's producers and processors with exporters from other parts of the country, expanding the base of export pockets in the North-Eastern states, including Assam, and increasing employment opportunities for the state's people.

APEDA signs an agreement with Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat, to conduct various training programmes on pre-harvest and post-harvest management, as well as other research activities to promote regional exports.

The APEDA promoted NER GI products such as Bhut Jolokia, Assam Lemon, and others, which caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who mentioned it during his Maan Ki Baat programme. Assam Lemon is now regularly exported to London and the Middle East, with more than 50 MT exported to date. APEDA has also exported several consignments of litchi and pumpkin from Assam to various countries.

"Assam and the other North East Region states have a favourable climate and soil type for growing almost all agricultural and horticultural crops." Because most of the NER's borders are shared with countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China, there is potential for increased exports from the region, according to APEDA Chairman Dr M Angamuthu.

During the Covid-19 period, APEDA continued to push its export plans through Virtual Buyer Seller Meet in collaboration with the Embassy of India located in various countries with exporters and FPOs/FPCs from NER regarding the sourcing of pineapple, ginger, lemon, orange, and other fruits and vegetables. During the pandemic, APEDA also organized Virtual Trade Fairs and facilitated export to foreign countries.

APEDA also intends to carry out several other projects, including the capacity building of 80 aspiring entrepreneurs and exporters from the region, the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs), and state government officials, as well as the organization of skill development and training in food processing and value addition on horticultural produce.

APEDA organized skill development programmes for manufacturers, exporters, and entrepreneurs as part of capacity building to use local produce for value addition and export. Training programmes are being held in various Northeast states in collaboration with the Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore (CFTRI), and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT).

APEDA also facilitated a workshop on Food Quality and Safety Management for Export of Processed Food Products from NER in Ri Bhoi, Meghalaya, and Dibrugarh, Assam, with the goal of increasing exports of agricultural and processed food products from NER through the development of a sustainable food value chain.

With the APEDA's assistance, Tripura's Jack fruit and Nagaland's King Chilli were exported to London for the first time via a local exporter. Also, Assam's Leteku (Burmese Grape) fruit was exported to Dubai, and Assam's Betel leaves were regularly exported to London.

APEDA assisted the Assam government in establishing a modern pork processing facility at Nazira with a slaughtering capacity of 400 animals per day in order to capitalize on the export potential of pork and pork products. The unit is complete and will be commissioned soon.

In collaboration with the State Animal Husbandry Department, APEDA organized a training programme to promote organic pork export from Sikkim, India's organic state. With the assistance of the NRC, APEDA has also developed guidelines for the export of fresh and processed pork from pigs located in Rani, near Guwahati. Sikkim is the first state in the NER to have an organic certification agency, which was established in 2016 with the help of APEDA.

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