Umsning (Meghalaya): Meghalaya, known globally for its turmeric that contains the highest curcumin content, is now eyeing Japan for marketing its Dutch cut roses and Bhutan, Nepal and West Asia for its organic strawberries.
The Dewlieh Horticulture Farm, set up under the horticulture initiative of the Meghalaya government here in Ri Bhoi district, has drawn up plans for focussed efforts to capture these foreign markets apart from those in eastern India.
Project leader (Rose and Strawberry), Horticulture Initiative, B.K. Sohliya, said the north-east’s first Centre of Excellence for Rose, located in the farm, produced 20 lakh rose stems annually. The different varieties of roses produced in the farm included Cherry Lady, Iceberg, Golden Gate, Corvette, Tropical Amazaon, Grand Gala, First Red and Circus.
On Teacher’s Day and this year the 40000 rose stem from the farm were sold in Meghalaya.
The department planned to increase rose production to 200 lakh stems in the next three years.
Meghalaya was also the third largest producer of strawberries in the country after Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.
The State now produced about 200 tonne of Sweet Charlie, Camarosa and Chandler varieties of strawberry every season.
The department planned to increase the area under strawberry cultivation from the existing 21 hectares to 35 hectares by March 2008.
Mr. Sohliya said the strawberries grown in Meghalaya could be easily marketed in West Aasia through Sylhet in Bangladesh.
There were twice a week flights to Dubai from Sylhet, which was only 150 km from the farm and could be reached through the Dawki Land Custom station along the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border.
Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh visited the farm on Tuesday.
He urged the Horticulture Department to avail itself of the various transport subsidies announced by the Ministry of Commerce for marketing horticultural crops grown in north-eastern States.
On Monday, Mr. Ramesh said the Ministry of Commerce handed over to the Meghalaya government a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Spices Board with ITC Limited for setting up a spices farm in the State with provisions for buyback, packaging and valued addition, for final comment from the State government.
The Spices Board will provide Rs.10. crore for setting up this farm.
Meghalaya is also the second largest producer of ginger and produces 46,590 tonnes annually.