Imphal, Nov.21 : A fruit processing plant, established in militancy affected Manipur, has added to the income of many families in the State.
Founded by L.Dikho Mao, the Exotic Juices Limited, which is the biggest fruit processing plant in north-east region, has today changed the fate of many people here.
People in the region have started systematic cultivation of fruits in the region. A non-governmental organization 'Good Samaritan Social Service Association', established in 1990, has been playing a pioneering role.
The organization has encouraged the cultivation of passion fruit found in abundance in Manipur's Mao district in other areas of the State. .
The 'Exotic juices' organization got financial assistance from Small Farmers' Agri Business Consortium (SFAC); a society under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India.
It has also received assistance from North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFI), Ministry of Food Processing Industries and the EXIM bank of India.
Exotic juices Limited has a capacity to process 3,200 metric tonne of juice in a season. It has a capacity to process 2 tonnes of passion fruit per hour. The unit has plans to process other seasonal fruits such as lemon and orange in future.
The unit is hoped to bring boom the people of the region by bringing about economic prosperity to the states of Manipur and Nagaland, especially to the passion fruit growers.
L. Adani Mao, the General Manager of the Exotic Juices Ltd., Mao, said: "This project establishment can be taken as a success story which can be emulated in other areas too. Manipur is blessed with so many products that can be capitalized upon. Entrepreneurship must be encouraged by government and through labour and commitment, we can triumph over all challenges."
Nearly 3,000 farmers have benefited and 1,261 farmers have been enrolled as shareholders of the fruit plant.
Besii, an employee of the Exotic Juices Ltd, Mao, said: "It will benefit the farmers. There are so many farmers and poor people, the fruit processing unit would really help the people of the region."
L. Mathibo, another employee, said: "The problem is because of economic backwardness. If the youth could be employed in this kind of industries, the insurgency's problem will somehow be solved. It can ultimately bring economic boom to the state as a whole."
26 skilled workers are managing the plant, which has employed several others working on daily wage at the plant.
The plant complex is used for juice extraction, pasteurization, concentration, aroma recovery as well as bulk aseptic packaging. It is also planning to undertake commercial production of various juices extracted of other local fruits.
It aims to market its finished product outside the State and also export it to other countries as well.
It is hoped more and more such plants will come up in the region, which has a good potential for economic development. By L.C.K Singh