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Coffee, honey can boost state’s economy — Neiba Kronu

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 23, 2020 11:51 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Feb. 23 (EMN):
Minister for Planning and Coordination, Land Revenue, and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu along with Advisor to Water Resources Namri Nchang and Dr. Longrineken, Advisor to Treasuries and Accounts, National Highways, has encouraged people of Nagaland to grow coffee and practice apiculture— to boost the state’s economy. 

This came after the three legislators toured Myanmar and Laos in August 2019, to study the method of coffee plantation, for tourism and infrastructure promotion in the state. In their address to media persons on February 22, in Kohima, the legislators spoke about the benefits of coffee plantation and apiculture in the state.

Neiba Kronu said that time has come for Nagas to talk about the economy and ways to improve the state economy. “Though Nagas have a political matter to settle, the day-to-day activities should not be forgotten. What Nagas can contribute to the outside world economically, should be the agenda,” he said.

“Though Nagas have a political matter to settle, the day-to-day activities should not be forgotten”

Neiba Kronu

If all the educated unemployed are provided with white-collar jobs, “Nagaland will go from bad to worse” with no alternatives, he said.

Neiba Kronu called upon the Nagas, particularly farmers and educated unemployed, to take up coffee plantation and apiculture. Nagaland has the potential to produce Grade A and B coffee, the minister said.

Both the Arabica coffee beans (higher altitude plantation), which are considered higher quality and often pricier, as well as Robusta coffee beans (lower altitude plantation) grow well in Nagaland. “When Nagaland can produce a high-quality type of coffee, why not encourage coffee plantation,” he said adding that the entire state is feasible for coffee plantation.

From the marketing point of view, he said there is a “huge demand” of coffee in European countries. Therefore, the demand for coffee ‘will not come down’.

Nagaland is considered to have ‘one of the youngest soil in the world’, where any sort of vegetables can grow. The only area where growers need to focus on is the low and high volume, he said and added that coffee is a shed-loving plant and it will not damage the environment.

During earlier days, there was no experiment and farmers were asked to grow randomly, which, at times had discouraged farmers, he said. However, the situation is different now, things are being experimented and studied, he added.

Coffee plantation shop in all districts: earmarks INR 2 crore.

In order to encourage coffee plantation in the state, Kronu said that the government has decided to set up a coffee plantation shop in all the districts. Further, it has earmarked INR 2 crore for coffee plantation in 2021, he informed.

The minister went on to say that the state government is trying to encourage coffee plantation. In line with this, it will distribute saplings ‘on a big scale’, he added. “The more we produce, the more we can control the market,” he said. The government hopes to distribute a ‘sizeable amount’ of coffee seed by March and April, he added.

Besides coffee plantation, the minister was of the view that practising apiculture can improve the state’s economy. Nagaland is blessed with fertile land and rich bio-diversity. In other countries, farmers used to shift the bee box in search of feeders, especially in plain areas. However, in Nagaland bees can feed itself from the rich biodiversity throughout the year. Therefore, “If we can make our land a ‘land of coffee and honey’, it can boost our economy,” Neiba Kronu said. Apart from these, bamboo, areca (betel), cardamom, and black pepper can also improve the state economy, he added.

8000 kg of coffee per year

While speaking about the benefits of coffee plantation, Dr. Longrineken said that Khar village alone, in Mokokchung district, produced around 4000 to 5000 kg of coffee per year; while the state’s total production is around 8000 kg per year. 

The advisor also said that Nagas are blessed with good land. Its fertility is such that it doesn’t need any type of chemicals to grow vegetables. In fact, what cannot be planted elsewhere can be planted in Nagaland, he said.

“Coffee plantation in Nagaland started during the 1980s. Almost all villagers took up the plantation,” he recounted. Further, the advisor encouraged the planting of vegetables like tomato, chilli etc., in one’s garden, instead of buying them from the market.

Namri Nchang stressed on the importance of dignity of labour. He urged the youngsters to stop depending on getting a government job but to seek an alternative. He called upon the educated unemployed to opt for entrepreneurship and businesses in their respective districts. One has to change the lifestyle of being dependent on parents and take a step to start working, be it farming, business etc., he added.

Coffee development in Nagaland

According to the Land Resource department’s annual administrative report 2019-2020, there is an immense scope and potential for coffee plantation in the state owing to the favourable soil climatic condition. Coffee is also emerging as a viable alternative to shifting cultivation.

Being a shade loving crop, coffee plants are intercropped with a variety of crops and fruit trees like oranges, pepper, bananas, mangoes, jackfruit, cardamom, areca nut, pineapple, vanilla, ginger, cloves etc., leading to maximum utilisation giving additional source of income to the coffee growers, the report stated.

The Land Resource department, Nagaland in collaboration with Coffee Board of India has assisted farmers to develop around 1816.2 hectares during 2019-20. Presently, the area under coffee plantation stands at 7996.2 hectares covering eleven districts of Nagaland.

The department intends to raise approximately 46,40,000 saplings that would cover an approximate area of 2,017.03 hectares during 2020-21.

According to the department’s GIS cell, it is estimated that about 10,40,100 hectare is suitable for coffee cultivation, which is about 62.7% of the state’s total geographical area.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 23, 2020 11:51:40 pm