To address the communication bottleneck of the region, the North Eastern Council said it is focussing more on promoting high-value agricultural products for niche markets.
"Given the prohibitive transportation cost in the North East, we cannot compete everywhere. The region must find niche markets and should concentrate on high-value products," North Eastern Council (NEC) secretary Ram Muivah told PTI on the sidelines of a two-day conference on agriculture-horticulture entrepreneurship in the region. The North-Eastern region has two important advantages - climate and rainfall - over other places in the country, he added.
"Considering these aspects, the NEC is focussing more on promoting such agricultural products giving higher returns and are aimed at niche markets. Some such products include kiwi fruit, stevia and lemongrass," Muivah said. NEC is currently encouraging farmers to produce large cardamom and kiwi fruit in Arunachal Pradesh, lemon grass and stevia in Manipur and tea in Tripura and Sikkim, he added.
The NEC chief further said that the organisation is also helping entrepreneurs in areas like milk production by murrah buffalo in both Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and fishery, dairy and honey bee output in Nagaland. Asked about the funding to farmers, Muivah said: "We are giving grants between Rs three crore and Rs 12 crore to each state in the Northeast for agriculture and horticulture sector." The funding pattern consists of 90 per cent assistance from the NEC, while 10 per cent is funded by the state government.