Agartala: The climatic condition of the northeast was suitable for agricultural and horticultural crops and an effective food processing sector could play a significant role in generating employment and utilising local resources, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said on Saturday.

“With a joint effort, developing skills of workers, expanding marketing, food processing and infrastructure development could accelerate growth and development of the food processing sector in the northeast, leading to more jobs, income and opportunities for the people of the region,” Sarkar said addressing a conference on the prospect of food processing.

He suggested diversifying veterinary, poultry, floriculture and agriculture using organic farming.

“Market linkage is the major problem facing by Tripura farmers,” he said, and suggested that the industry bodies should focus on building external market linkage for food processing units in the region.

ASSOCHAM, in collaboration with the union ministry of food processing industries and other agencies jointly organised this one-day conference.

“Food processing industry is a sunrise industry which has the potential of dramatically improving rural livelihood opportunities and bridge the rural-urban divide,” Sarkar said.

It is critical for the development of our country as it establishes vital linkages between the two pillars of economy – agriculture and industry, he said.

Lok Sabha member Jitendra Chaudhury, a former state industries and commerce minister, said fruits and vegetables have good marketing scope in this region if properly harvested, processed and packaged.

He mentioned banana, pineapple, orange, papaya, lemon, potato, sweet potato, tapioca, chilies, turmeric, onion, ginger, bamboo shoot and jack fruit as having good scope in the region.

“The food processing industry, especially agro-horticultural based, has been identified as a thrust area of development in the north eastern region,” he added.

ASSOCHAM senior director Om S Tyagi, state industries and commerce secretary Nagaraju Maddirala and industries and commerce director VG Jenner also spoke at the conference. 

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