Agartala, Jul 22: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb today flagged off a big consignment of que variety of pineapple and lemon to Middle East countries in ceremonial program at Kumarghat of North Tripura to promote the international trade of horticulture produces from the state.
This is the first consignment of this year comprising of 17 MT pineapple and 4,000 pieces of lemon produces in different locations of North Tripura has moved for international export to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. So far, as many as 540 MT of que and queen varieties of pineapple this year has been sold out officially from Tripura, informed Deb.
“Last year, we had sent experimental consignment of queen variety of pineapple by air cargo, which was bought at Rs 20 per kg from the cultivators. However, this year que variety pineapple has been procured from the farmers at the cost of Rs 15 per kg and lemon at the rate of Rs 2 and Rs 1.80 per piece respectively,” Deb said.
He claimed that the state government has immediately after assuming power last year took extra initiative to monetise pineapple - the unique traditional summer fruit and sweet lime of Tripura, which were abandoned in production but was left unattended by the previous government under left front rule.
According to report, almost half of the total pineapple consumption of the world is being done in Middle East countries. The same consignment by road and ship from Philippines where as took 12 to 15 days, from here the same consignment will reach in Middle East market by same way within 10 to 12 days and the quality and taste of pineapple are much better than another region.
“When last year my government announced international export of pineapple from Tripura, the price in local market has also increased to Rs 20, which was Rs 5 to 8 per piece. The symbolic export of exotic variety of pineapple has given boost to the local market and attracted businessmen of different Indian cities and Bangladesh to Tripura pineapple. As a result, pineapple production has increased more than 25 per cent this year,” Deb pointed out.
He said that after assessing the potential future of pineapple and citrus fruits of Tripura, the government has already brought 1,700 hectares of land under pineapple cultivation through various departments and added that the state government has been supporting the farming community in the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double the income of farmers by 2022.
He further added that from last year, the state government has started procuring paddy from the local farmers to cater the need of public distribution system at the rate of Rs 17.50 per kg, which was till then supplied by other states of the country and a huge amount of money was drained out from the state. At the beginning in last year only 10,400 MT paddy was procured but this so far more than 14,000 MT has already been bought.
For PDS supply Tripura needs about 2,500 MT rice every year and the state government has a plan to manage the total supply from local farmers and supply it through ration shops, Deb said adding, “The farmers had lost interest to cultivate rice because there was no attempt to provide minimum support price. As a result, many best quality indigenous rice germplasum have vanished today. Despite huge crisis of fund we started contributing along with FCI for paddy procurement.”
Accusing opposition CPI (M) of malicious campaign on crisis of work in rural Tripura, Deb today pointed out, “There was massive corruption in implementation of rural development program and there were severe crisis of food. When our government took over last year, we had to distribute free rice to 10 rural blocks of Tripura but this year people gained the capacity buy the rice and lead a decent life.” (UNI)