Shillong, June 1: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday flagged off 20 Prime Agriculture Response Vehicles (ARV) at MAMETI, Upper Shillong, to bridge the transportation gaps and provide livelihood opportunities to the rural population. The keys were handed to different Integrated Village Cooperative Societies from Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
Speaking during the launch, the Chief Minister commended the Agriculture department that has, in the last few years with better technology and improved infrastructure, given a growth structure and support system to farmers thereby increasing their income. “About 80 percent of our people are in the farming sector therefore it is important that our farmers are supported, hence, many programs have been initiated by the government to this end,” he said.
Highlighting the employability aspect of Agriculture and Food Sector, CM Sangma said that around 50,000 youth enter the work force every in the State, and government and private sectors are the two areas where they can be employed; while roughly around 3000 are absorbed in the government sector while the rest have to seek employment in the private sector.
“In the private sector we have to look at Agriculture, Food Processing, Tourism and the Service Sector as the key areas for employment failing which we will not be able to provide job opportunities to our youth,” he said. He further added that for the private sector to grow there has to be a right environment in the State. “While we are trying to boost the growth of private sector in the State, Agriculture and Food Processing plays a vital role to ensure that we are able to provide economic benefits to the people and create the employment that is required,” he said.
The Chief Minister also informed that an additional fleet of 200 Prime Agriculture Response Vehicles will be distributed in the next phase.
Under the Prime Agri Response Vehicles, 200 vehicles will be distributed to cooperative societies, Self Help Groups, Farmers Producer Organizations and individuals on 50 percent subsidy on on-road cost of the vehicle. The scheme is intended for rural population who are remotely connected bridging the transportation gaps while providing livelihood opportunities to the rural population.
A number of Agriculture-Farming apps namely, CROPSAP, Crop Pest Surveillance and Advisory Project, a collection of WEB and Mobile application for Crop Pest Surveillance and Advisory Project Management System, Horticulture Hub MIS application for managing the daily activities such as sale, farmers’ trainings, generating sales and receipts, reports and managing availability of stocks, MEGAMB, Meghalaya State Agriculture Marketing Board, Meghalaya Farmer App and the MAMETI website were launched during the occasion.