Monday, February 3, 2014

NERAMAC: The public enterprise from North-East that remains an unsung hero

A food processing awareness programme
IF YOU have been to the North-Eastern state of Tripura, you could not have missed in the airport a sales outlet of a public enterprise named North Eastern Regional Agriculture Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC). In Delhi, very few have ever heard of this PSU under the DoNER ministry, but thousands of farmers in the far-flung region have actually begun to…
cultivate ginger, citronella oil, grass broom, bamboo sticks etc. in a much organized way, and that too on a large scale, thanks to the marketing interventions of this public enterprise.
Last month, NERAMAC in association with Arunachal Pradesh government’s industry department conducted an awareness programme in Itanagar on food processing development. A large number of entrepreneurs gathered there to understand the nuances of the schemes which could boost their business prospects. A senior bank official belonging to Punjab National Bank guided the entrepreneurs with the procedure for availing term loan from banks to further their business in food processing industries. Senior government officials also addressed them.
In fact, NERAMAC has taken a lead role in implementing National Mission on Food Processing, a centrally sponsored mega plan, in all North-Eastern states. The public enterprise was made the implementing agency of the Mission in the North-East region because of its expertise in the food processing and marketing linkages in the North-East, the land of seven sisters and eighth brother (Sikkim).
An Indian Forest service officer and DoNER’s joint secretary Arvind Madhav Singh is the chairman of the enterprise, and Vinod H Kalbande has recently taken over as its MD.
There was a time, the pineapple growers of Tripura and parts of South Assam including Silchar were left with no other options but to throw away their pineapple during the peak season. But the farmers now get a price for their full production, as NERAMAC buys those out.
According to the official website of the organization, cashew nut growers in North Eastern region were getting only Rs 5 to Rs 6 for one kilo of raw cashew nut till NERAMAC had stepped in and set up cashew nut processing units. Now, fortunes of the farmers have changed dramatically as they command a price ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 40 depending on the quality.
Similarly, ginger growers were getting only 50 paise per kilogram of ginger. Currently, they get a price between Rs 5 to Rs 15 per kilogram of ginger. Also, citronella oil producers are major beneficiaries thanks to NERAMAC’s timely interventions.
So, will NERAMAC emerge as a future brand from the region? Just wait and watch.

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