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Uttarakhand farmers learning marketing

DEHRADUN: The quality product laced with good packaging attracts the best market price. This is the new mantra being taught to farmers in Uttarakhand these days to cope up with changing marketing strategies. The farmers in the state are learning marketing skills and many more things necessary for their occupation in special training classes organised by National Horticulture Board (NHB) with the support of Agri Export Development Unit (AEDU), Dehra Dun. "Our farmers in remote hilly areas have no idea what the marketing skills are all about and what role do they play in getting the best market price for their quality produce, so the government has started training programmes for them," Horticulture Minister Govind Singh Kunjawal said. The state government recently inked an agreement with FMCG major ITC for branding and marketing locally grown fruits and fruit-based products, he added. These farmers are now being trained in sorting, grading and packaging of horticulture produce so as to get best market price, horticulture officials said. In the first phase, nearly 75 farmers in Kotdwar area of Pauri district underwent training to learn quality management in horticulture produce last month. "We are basically telling farmers to understand the value addition of their produce so that they can get the best suitable price in the market," the officials said. With the fruits like rose scented luscious litchi, Uttarkashi apples, grapes and maltas being liked abroad, horticulture officials are trying to tell farmers how marketing skills can be developed and used in getting good price for their quality produce. "The farmers are now convinced about the fact that unless you present your products in a nice way, there is hardly any scope for making desired profit," an official said. Experts from Govind Ballabh Pant University, Pantnagar were also invited to give on-the-spot training to farmers about latest packaging standards, importance of post- harvesting techniques in maintaining the value addition, quality production of fruits and vegetables so that they could meet the international standards. The farmers were also told about the zero energy cool chambers and how they can use them to preserve their produce at a nominal price. Similar training sessions are also being planned to be organised in other towns of the state. MORE PTI DPT PAL SSD The government is encouraging the farmers to attend these training sessions by promising them sops in terms of subsidy, depending upon specification of a project. For the first time, the government also announced a minimum support price for the apple at Rs 3.50 per kilogram to encourage fruit growers of the state. In Uttarakhand, the total area under fruit production is 1,92,000 hectares of which apples are grown on about 29 per cent area. ITC Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with local panchayat representatives of zila parishad and kshetra panchayats of Nainital district to brand and market the products of their area. For facilitating this agreement, the Uttarakhand government is also taking help from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and for ensuring fair and remunerative price by enhancing their global competitiveness. A total of 12 local fruit-processing units have been involved in the agreement. _____________________________ Source :economictimes