GUWAHATI, April 20 - In a welcome development for Assam�s horticulture sector, fruits, especially banana which is abundantly produced in Assam, will be exported to other states in the next few days.
The move has been initiated to reduce wastage of horticultural produce during the lockdown. The lockdown triggered a loss of over 10,000 MT of horticultural produce in the State till April 18.
The agriculture department has made arrangements for sending a consignment of over 9,000 MT of banana to Azadpur Mandi of Delhi. The consignment will be sent through the Indian Railways.
Revealing this, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora told The Assam Tribune that the government was trying hard to ease the situation for the farming community and ensure that lockdown-induced crop loss was kept to the minimum.
Bora, who today visited Darrangiri in Goalpara district that boasts of Asia�s largest banana market, said that he had a detailed interaction with the large community of banana cultivators and agricultural officials.
�Over 8,000 people are engaged in banana cultivation at Darrangiri and they are deeply worried about large-scale crop loss. We told them of our initiatives aimed at reducing their losses � which includes exporting banana to outside the State and opening a wholesale market at Pamohi in Guwahati,� he said.
Darrangiri produced 40,823 MT banana last year. Bananas from Darrangiri are exported to neighbouring states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, etc., besides Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Debabrata Rabha, a progressive banana cultivator of the area, said that the lockdown-induced transportation disruption impacted the banana farmers hard and unless the government intervened, the loss for the farmers would be huge.
�Banana plantation spreads over nearly 4,000 hectares at Darrangiri where several thousand families are traditionally involved with the practice. We have already suffered losses but the government�s intervention will ease things for us. We have 25,000 thoks (bunches) ready for sale right now,� Rabha, who produced 600 MT banana over his 250-bigha plot last year, said.
The agriculture department has also made arrangements with the Railways for inter-state transportation of horticulture products through 19 special COVID-19 parcel vans in the Northeast.