Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Singtam:Government Fruit Preservation Factory was started in 1956 with a capital investment of Rs 1.00 Lakh and is situated in a valley near Singtam, in the heart of Sikkim's orange growing area and was a maiden venture towards industrialization of this tiny Himalayan Kingdom.
It is a enterprise of Government of Sikkim and markets its range of products under the brand name "Sikkim Supreme".The factory has an areaof 10 acres and more than 50 employees and its range of products includes Orange squash, lemon squash, passion fruit squash, tomato ketchup, tomato puree, orange, marmalade, mixed fruit jam, synthetic vinegar, mango pickle, Dallae chilly (hot balls) pickle , dallae chilly with bamboo shoot pickle, mixed pickle, pineapple squash, orange juice in 800ml cans, Mango juice, pineapple juice, litchi juice, orange juice, guava juice and canned fruits and jams both in 800ml and 4000ml.

Considering the importance of organic farming as initiated by the Sikkim government, the state’s lone Government Food Preservation Factory (GFPF) is presently geared up to manufacture its products ranging from squash to pickles and jam particularly from raw fruits and vegetables cultivated in organic means.
In a time when GFPF products are in great demand among local populace equating equal demands outside the state particularly in North Eastern states owing to its area of expertise in organic aspects, the factory is now prepared to introduce sliced pear in cans as per demands from army headquarters in bulk. The canned slice pear is demanded at 73 metric tones in totality.
In this regard, the new Managing Director to GFPF, Ms Nima L Yethenpa visited few places in South district including Middle Tarku, Khaprey and Namthang to take stock of cultivation of pear in these areas.
Infact, during earlier years, the requisite raw fruits (pear) in the production of canned sliced pear was brought in from Siliguri and other neighboring areas of the state due to ignorance of local farmers, the importance of selling the fruits directly and indirectly to GFPF at reasonable rates.
Worth mentioning is that the villagers sold off their fruit products to dealers and agents outside the state – the result of which they were thoroughly cheated by the latter at regular intervals.
Speaking to Ms Geeta Basnett of Middle Tarku, who could boast of a pear orchard with its annual production of 1600 kgs of fruits, expressed her gratitude to the officials of GFPF for hiring the educated unemployed youths to undertake the responsibility of acting as middlemen between the farmers and concerned factory.
By doing so, the educated unemployed youths of the region will avail employment opportunities and earn their livelihood. At the same time it would help them (cultivators) benefit from the reasonable rates from GFPF to their fruit produce, she said.
The same 7 members Self-Help Group headed by Adip Sherpa has so far surveyed 26 households alone in Temi-Tarku specialized in the production of pear fruits whereby an advance payment has also been made to them. The SHG is also exploring the other locations in East, South and West districts with a huge potential for pear productivity.
So far it has been revealed that Namthang produces the highest quantity of pear fruits in the state.
Adip Sherpa appeared in all praise for officials of GFPF for having boosted their morale in terms of giving them an opportunity to act as middlemen between farmers and the factory. Likewise, in an interaction with Ratna Kumar Subba of Kaphrey, he too seemed satisfied at the very thought that the huge bulk of pear fruits produced from pear fruit trees counting 65 in total would now get reasonable rates as finalised upon by the GFPF.
Ratna Kumar Subba also opined that resourceful initiative of the state government through GFPF towards encouraging the local populace to focus more on organic farming has helped the farmers of Kaphrey to cultivate pear on a larger scale.
Meanwhile, GFPF Production Manager Santosh Kumar speaking to media persons said there has been an increase by 10 - 15% with regards to business transactions of the factory on an annual basis within and outside the state.
He added that Sikkim Supreme is the brand name for some 42 products produced by GFPF from raw fruits purely organic in form that includes orange squash as its primary products alongside mixed fruit jam, marmalades, pineapple juice, tomato ketchup, mixed pickles to name a few.
Mr Kumar also highlighted that the annual production of GFPF is estimated at 900 metric tones while its annual consumption stand at 300 metric tones. GFPF products are sold at Goa, Agartala, West Bengal, New Delhi and Jharkhand besides the home state.
The GFPF consumes a maximum quantity of organic fruits and vegetables produced by the local farmers in the state and at times of shortage of the two items, to meet up the demands of the ever increasing customers, it is imported from Siliguri and other neighboring areas of Sikkim.
One of the special characteristics about Sikkim Supreme products is that local farmers produce them out of organic fruits and vegetables in a hygienic ambience under the supervision of trained staffs. According to sources, Sikkim Supreme products have huge demand in United States of America and other countries