Asserting that his government was working relentlessly to double the income of farmers by giving their products wider market besides providing all the facilities to increase the agri-production, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said that jaggery products of Uttar Pradesh would create a new identity in the world.
"The sustained efforts towards the welfare of farmers are reaping rich benefits in the state and the farmers are now getting better market and high prices for their produce,” the chief minister said while inaugurating the two-day Jaggery Festival here on Saturday evening.
Recalling how bad the condition of sugarcane farmers was four years ago, with no sugarcane payment for five, six, seven years and the khandsari industry in a shambles, the chief minister said the situation improved only when his government assumed office in 2017.
He said that khandsari licences were not issued till four years ago but the present government ensured licence within a few hours of applying. “Now, the licence fee has been waived. Khandsari industry can be set up within a radius of 7 kilometres instead of 15 kilometres," he said, adding that as a result of this, the sugarcane produced in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Ayodhya, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur were getting market not only in the state but in the entire country.
Yogi Adityanath hoped that the ‘gur’ (jaggery) made from sugarcane would get an international market and the Jaggery Festival would open up new avenues of marketing of jaggery products.
He said the efforts of the state government to bring changes in the lives of lakhs of farmers of the state had resulted in such successful festivals being organised.
“These programmes have been started to enable the local products to get new markets, get branding to market besides getting best remunerative price to the farmer in the country and even abroad," he added.
Congratulating the team of the Cane Development Department, the chief minister said he visited some of the stalls in the festival and found amazing enthusiasm among the farmers.
“I can feel the new awareness of a new India which is now extended to cleanliness as well that has been created through the Swachh Bharat Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
The chief minister said that unlike his childhood when the sugar price used to be high, the price of jaggery had increased compared to that of sugar due to its medicinal properties.
“There are seven lakh sugarcane farmers in the state. Sugarcane is cultivated in an area of 27 lakh hectares. We have connected the sugarcane farmers with the new system of issuing online slips. The sugarcane growers have been paid a total of Rs 1,25,600 crore,'' he pointed out.
The chief minister said Uttar Pradesh was the only state where the sugar mills continued to run during the coronavirus pandemic while the sugar mills in other states were closed. “We made such an arrangement that as long as there is a single crop of sugarcane, no sugar mill should be closed," he said.
Exuding confidence that the ‘gur’ of Uttar Pradesh would be a big brand elsewhere, the chief minister said. 'We have included jaggery as One District One Product (ODOP) of three districts namely Muzaffarnagar, Ayodhya and Lakhimpur. I am confident that the product will get international recognition and the farmers will get remunerative prices."
For the first time after Independence, the Gur Mahotsav (Jaggery Festival) is being organised in UP. The main objective of this event is to encourage the jaggery-producing farmers to produce quality jaggery and other products made from jaggery and to make the common man aware of the medicinal properties of jaggery.
Various stalls of jaggery and its products have been set up by jaggery producers from different districts of the state. These stalls include jaggery tea, jaggery ladoo, kulfi, jalebi, halwa, kheer, dry ginger, cardamom, sesame, groundnut, gajak, cashew, almond, saffron-containing jaggery and jaggery dumpling, jaggery chocolate etc.