PARALAKHEMUNDI: After North-East, the queen variety of pineapple, produced in Gajapati district, is all set to be exported to Bangladesh.
At a meeting of Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) held here on Thursday, Collector Sudhansu Mohan Samal said the queen variety has a special demand in Bangaladesh and Gajapati is the only district in the State producing the fruit, due to its conducive climate.
Samal exhorted the officials to make necessary arrangements to export the fruit by ensuing May. At present, local traders purchase the fruit from farmers at throw-away prices. If exported, it can fetch a good price for the farmers, who are ignorant about the fruit’s value abroad, Samal added. With an aim to promote cultivation and cover more areas, the district administration has decided to provide 20 lakh saplings to farmers of the district.
The officials have also been directed to check distress sale of ragi. The district administration will purchase 1,000 quintals of ragi from farmers of which 600 quintals will be sold at Pallishree Mela and the rest 400 quintals will be converted into flour to be sold in open market.
As the district’s climate is also suitable for cultivation of pepper, Samal asked the horticulture officials to grow it in 100 hectares this year.
The district also produces sufficient quantity of quality maize, cashew nut and tamarind, but the farmers end up selling those at much lesser price, while the middlemen and traders reap benefits. He asked the officials to keep a vigil to check distress sale. Women self-help groups (SHGs) in R Udaygiri, Nuagada and Mohana block started growing vegetables in around 300 acres with the assistance of the district administration.
To facilitate sale of the vegetables in Berhampur and Bhubaneswar and transport the same, the Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) will provide two vehicles, Samal said.
He also exhorted the women SHGs to prepare broom and collect raw materials from the godowns at Koinpur, Gangabada, Borodanga and others places of the district.
Among others, Project Director of District Rural Development Agency Biranchi Narayana Mohanty, Project Administrator of ITDA, Parikhita Sethi and senior officials were present.