Multi-pronged approach of Agri. Dept to re-boost agro-economics of ANI

Port Blair
11 Nov 2018

The Andaman and Nicobar Administration has been forthcoming in exploring various opportunities for the development of the Islands. Agriculture, in that series is a major potential point for development of local community. The Agriculture Department has recently got a survey done through National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for making a blueprint for Integrated all around development of farming activities in the Island. Towards a vision of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, following initiatives have been taken by the Department recently:
1. Input stage: The Agriculture Department has started several input stage interventions in order to increase agricultural productivity by opening 4 agriculture input store, which will provide good quality seed and organic fertilizer for sustainable agriculture. Each store will be established at a cost of Rs.5 lakh and will serve the needs of farmers from input sites. Similarly, the department has also proposed to establish 9 Custom Hiring Centres all over the Islands, for the total cost of Rs. 1.35 crores for agricultural implements to ease farmers’ requirements of implements at affordable costs.
2. Technology: The Department also envisions a total revamp of 10 existing Rural Knowledge Centres (RKCs) into a Farmer E-Centres. Such Centres shall provide services like reservation of air-ticket, online PAN cards, trading and marketing of agro produce and will serve as an online platform for getting information about government schemes. This will enhance reach of RKCs and also strengthen their economic viability.
Further, the Agriculture Department has also taken initiative to introduce new technologies like NADEP and COCOPIT, to convert excess organic waste into organic manure. It will establish 12 units with an overall outlay of Rs.1.44 lakh for each in North & Middle Andaman and South Andaman.
3. Training: The Department has also enhanced its focus on capacity building for forward linkages in the market. There are 46 (Primary Agriculture Society) PACs and 5 vegetable grower societies established, out of which 10 are proposed to be revitalized as collection center with a total outlay of Rs.17.25 lakhs in upcoming months.
4. Market: As a game changer, the Department has proposed to incorporate 10 Mobile Vegetable Vans with a cost of Rs.12 lakhs each. This move shall bring the farmers to the consumers. The Department also comprehends the need for proper retail market for agro produce. In this regard, it has planned to establish 10 consumer stores all across the Isles.
5. High value produces:  Since the Island produces 4869.56 metric ton of spices, the Department envisages proper branding and marketing of the produce by providing margin money benefit to establish proper marketing linkages for packing, sealing and revitalizing.
For High Value spices like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper etc. the Department is going to build marketing units to provide value addition services for the spices such as extraction of cinnamon oil from cinnamon tree which shall increase the income of farmers.
6. Plantation: The Agriculture Department also understands the importance of plantation in the Islands. Several initiatives have been contemplated such as establishing 5 units for making ‘Coconut Jaggery’ with a total outlay of Rs.320.50 lakhs. Similarly for ‘NONI’ cultivation, grown abundantly in this region, the Department is establishing 8 societies with an outlay of Rs.1.12 lakhs each which shall focus on its cultivation.
The paddy production in the island is on 12593.72 hect. It has a tremendous potential for improving farmers economy. In this regard, the Department projects to establish 6 mini rice mills which shall harness the paddy potential of the Islands. All in all, the Agriculture Department has employed multi pronged approach to give a reboost to agro-economics of the Islands. It is on one hand providing easy and cheaper agri inputs and on the other creating forward linkages to the agri-products. Introduction of new technology and mobile vans are going to be major strategic steps in future of the Islands. These initiatives taken by Andaman and Nicobar Administration has contributed to the growth of agriculture sector, enhanced employment opportunities and has the potential to become a harbinger of development of local community.