Millennium Post

Main focus on MSME dept's co-ops for farmers to process spices, herbs

Kolkata: The project of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) department of setting up industry co-operatives comprising local farmers to package and process locally grown herbs and spices in the Hills will be one of the key sectors that will be highlighted at the forthcoming business summit in Darjeeling.
The MSME department has been working for the past six months to set up industry cooperatives by roping in local farmers, who mainly grow cardamom, tulsi, turmeric and ginger. The farmers will be provided with necessary machineries for packaging and processing of the same and the cooperatives will be selling out the packaged products.
For the first time in the history of Bengal, a business summit is going to be held in Darjeeling to ensure development of the area's economy. The Hill Business Summit is going to be held on March 13 and 14 in which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to be present. Top entrepreneurs are going to turn up at the summit.
According to a senior official of the MSME department, there are a lot of forest and agro based resources in the Hills. The target is to make industrial cooperatives and provide machineries to its members to process and package the agro and herbal produce of the region. "The step has been taken after a market study revealed that there is a great demand for the forest and agro based products of the Hills including large cardamom, ginger, turmeric and tulsi," the official said adding necessary support cannot be given to individuals to ensure economical development of the area. So, the families, who are growing it, will be roped in industrial cooperatives.
Citing an example, the official said there is a huge demand for tulsi ark as it has high medicinal value. Suppose there are 100 families those are growing tulsi in the Hills. They will be brought under the co-operatives and will be provided with machineries for packaging of the same.
The business summit is going to give a major boost to the economy of the region and for the first ever, the people of the Hills are going to get such a big platform to showcase the potential of the region. So, highlighting the project of forming industrial co-operatives that has been chalked out for the farmers in the Hills will help them to get business, the official added. At the same time, dairy products of Kalimpong, the famous lollipop produced in the region, orchid, local dress and handicraft goods will also be highlighted at the business summit.
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