Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday launched a programme to ensure that farmers and producer groups get timely availability of adequate quality inputs and better marketing infrastructure and transportation facilities.

The chief minister also announced that the state government will spend Rs 200 crore over the next two years under the ”Chief Minister’s Mobilisation Support for Producers” programme to help farmers and producer groups in the state to level up and leverage their enterprises.

The programme will ensure timely availability of adequate and quality inputs to farmers, help them access credit, improve marketing infrastructure, extension services and better transportation.

“Apart from many development projects that are important for the state and the people, we were very clear that we want to make an improvement in every individual’s life. We want to take steps to transform the lives of the people at the grassroots level. We realized that there are many gaps in the system… and there are small things we can do that can change the lives of our people in every sector,” he said at the launch of the programme at Tura in West Garo Hills district.

The chief minister said, “We started looking into these gaps. We realized that entrepreneurship is a base and an area that will touch every aspect of life. We started by promoting and recognizing the entrepreneurs. I started my journey as an entrepreneur and I know the challenges the entrepreneurs face… we realized that they need guidance so we started giving them different kinds of training and even started the PRIME Hubs”.

According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the aim of the programme is also to identify, train and form producer groups, service providers and collective marketing centres across Meghalaya.

The formation of the groups will enable the government to achieve programme objectives by ensuring timely availability of adequate and quality inputs, access to credit, improve marketing infrastructure, extension services and better transportation, it added.

Under the Meghalaya Livelihoods and Access to Markets Project (Megha-LAMP), 1,260 producer groups are being supported while under the PRIME initiative, 936 producer groups are being supported.

“In the coming months, Rs 9.4 crore will be disbursed to the groups under Megha-LAMP and Rs 6.1 crore will be disbursed to the groups under PRIME,” the statement said.

Each member of the producer groups gets a mobilization fund of Rs 5,000 and each service providers gets a mobilization fund of Rs 50,000, while each of the collective marketing centres gets a zero interest loan of Rs 7 lakh.

In the launch event at Tura on Wednesday, almost Rs 3.5 crore was distributed to award 90 producer groups, 21 service providers, and 38 collective marketing centres. PTI