Union minister for rural development & panchayati raj Giriraj Singh in the presence of Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on August 18 inaugurated the Meghalaya Pineapple Fest – 2023 organized by the Meghalaya government at the iconic Dilli Haat in New Delhi.
The festival was a mark to celebrate Meghalaya’s famed produce, the succulent Kew pineapples.
Also present on the occasion were agriculture minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, tourism minister Paul Lyngdoh and senior officials of the state government.
Addressing the inaugural function, Giriraj Singh shared his thoughts on the significance of agricultural diversity and collaboration between states.
“I would like to express my appreciation for the Government of Meghalaya’s initiative in organizing this event. It’s a step in the right direction towards promoting sustainable agricultural practices, fostering inter-state cooperation, and enhancing the livelihoods of farmers. In the context of our nation’s agricultural landscape, diversity is not just a word; it’s a treasure trove of opportunities. Events like these encourage us to explore the possibilities that lie within our own states, learn about their unique agricultural practices, and adapt them for the benefit of all. Meghalaya’s pineapples have garnered a reputation for their exquisite taste and quality. This event provides a platform not only to showcase this unique produce but also to highlight the hard work and dedication of the farmers who nurture our land,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Conrad Sangma said: “This event marks a significant moment in our journey to showcase the essence of Meghalaya’s culture, agriculture, and unity. The Meghalaya Pineapple Fest is more than just a celebration of our state’s succulent produce; it’s a platform to share the diversity of our culture, the innovation in our agriculture, and the unity that binds our people. Our pineapples are not merely fruits; they are a testament to the fertile land, dedicated farmers, and the rich legacy that Meghalaya carries.”
“As we gather here in New Delhi, far from the rolling hills and serene landscapes of Meghalaya, we bring a piece of our home to share with the world. Let us cherish the moments of togetherness, embrace the culture, and savor the sweetness of Meghalaya, right here in the heart of New Delhi. I take pride in telling you all that with persistent effort by the Government of Meghalaya and all stakeholders associated, the pineapples from Meghalaya are being sold across malls in Dubai, Kuwait and Sharjah. For enhanced production a mobile processing unit at Umdihar IVCS, in Umdihar Village (Ri Bhoi) has been set up,” he said.
The CM said that the Meghalaya pineapples are famous for their high-sugar content (brix value of 16-18) and low sourness.
“The pineapples in the state are mostly being cultivated without any use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, resulting in significantly lower heavy metal and pesticide residue in the fruit. These traits make them highly suitable for lucrative international and national markets. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Government of India for providing us with this platform to showcase our achievements and aspirations. I am also thankful to all our partners, performers, and participants who have come together to make this event a resounding success,” he added.
On the occasion of the 77th Independence Day, Meghalaya outlined its ambitious plan for ‘Magnificent Meghalaya.’ Aspiring to double the state’s GDP, Meghalaya identifies agriculture and allied sectors as pivotal drivers of economic growth. This sector has the potential to create lakhs of employment opportunities in the next 5 years.
Meghalaya is blessed with diverse agro-climatic conditions and is home to a wide array of agricultural and horticultural produce. Rooted in traditional practices, most of the crops are cultivated in an organic manner.
These factors (favourable agro-climatic conditions, organic practices and endemic varieties) make produce from Meghalaya unique in terms of their quality and taste. High-value products like Lakadong Turmeric, the GI-tagged Khasi mandarin, and Kew pineapples are gaining popularity, making their way to European and Middle Eastern markets.
Over recent times, the pineapples from the state have been gaining more popularity. The Northeast states contribute a whopping 51.18 per cent of the total pineapple production in the country, with Meghalaya contributing 7.69 per cent (APEDA 2021-22), making the state one of the top 5 pineapple producing states in India.
The Meghalayan pineapples have the lowest pesticide and heavy metal residue in the country. Also, in regard to taste, they are less sour and significantly sweeter. The pineapples have a Brix value of 16-18, which indicate to the sweetness of the fruit. A testament to the quality of the State’s pineapple, they are being exported to Switzerland to be used in baby food. As the pineapples from Meghalaya are among the rare few in the country that can pass the stringent food testing standards set in place for the European market.
This season has been a fruitful one for pineapple growers of the state as many have realised an increase of up-to 100 per cent in farmgate price for their produce. As a result of timely marketing interventions from the state government, Meghalayan pineapples are now gracing shelves in malls across the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Kuwait).