Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday inaugurated a major food and fruit processing plant at Nagri near Ranchi which is the lone plant of that magnitude in the region.
Built at the cost of Rs 82.77 core, the plant would consume most of the green produces grown in the massive vegetable belt in the form of Nagari, Mandar, Khunti and adjoining areas which often perish giving miniscule return to the farmers.
The Government has allotted land to Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable Private Limited and subsidy of Rs 82.77 crore under the Jharkhand Industrial Policy. The processing plant would be run jointly by the Mother Dairy and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
The CM, on the occasion, recalling the upper hand of Jharkhand in vegetable production said the State can emerge as a major export centre with the plant coming up locally. “With the establishment of vegetable and fruit processing plant at Nagri, we can export fruits and vegetables to the world. 70 per cent people to be employed with this plant are the locals,” said the Chief Minister.
This is inaugural phase of the plant and has attained operation status within one year time. The second phase plant is coming up and expected to be started by November this year. “The Government is not going to stop here and more such plants will be established in different districts of the State. This is one of the largest plants of Eastern India,” said the CM.
He also underlined intention of his Government and added that improvement in the lives of farmers through raising their income is one of his priorities. “Still 23-24 lakh people live below poverty line. The Government is committed to generate employment opportunities in rural areas and stop migration and this is one of the ways we can do this,” said the CM.
He also talked about State Entrepreneur Board, which is working for employment generation and prosperity. “Under this scheme, 4.5 lakh women will be made entrepreneurs. A training centre will also be established to train people. People should use bio fertilisers for greater and sustainable production. Farmers should also adopt floriculture which is also a focus area. If this is started by the people, the Government may consider a plant for flowers also,” said the CM, adding that the Government has made a provision of Rs 700 crore for skill development of the people.
Also present on the occasion was Union Agriculture Minister for State and Farmer Welfare Sudarshan Bhagat who said that the plant would benefit fruit and vegetable growers of the State. The plant in its first phase would process pea and jackfruit which would be extended to other locally produced fruits and vegetables.
Agriculture Minister of Jharkhand Randhir Singh said that the Government is thinking for the farmers and the production of fruits and vegetables will get new dimension with this initiative. “The Government is promoting organic farming. This year, 50 lakh papaya plants are being prepared and other fruits like mango, guava, pulses, beans and other fruits are also promoted.”
Chief Secretary Rajbala Verma said that ‘Mother Dairy’ is ready to enter in vegetable production and the unit of NDDB would ensure good returns to the farmers for their produces. She said that farmers should produce all sorts of fruits and vegetables for better income.
NDDB Chairperson Dilip Rath, Secretary to the CM Sunil Kumar Barnwal, Cooperative Department Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni, Special Secretary Pooja Singhal, Horticulture Director Rajeev Kumar and other officials were present on the occasion.