Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio inaugurates Farmer’s Market at Meriema
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday inaugurated Farmer’s Market at Meriema, near IG Stadium in Kohima, which he termed as his dream project for the farmers.
Rio said the project was conceptualised to address the plight of women and street vendors who brave the rain or shine sans security to make a livelihood, and described the completion of the facility as fulfilling.
While urging the citizens to make use of the facility, he said the management should set strict rules to restrict sale of non-organic products at the market and give emphasise to local and organic products.
Informing that more infrastructures are coming up in other locations as well, he advised the management to maintain hygiene and cleanliness so that it serves as a one stop location for those who need organic products and be a model for other upcoming markets across the state.
He also expressed delight over completion of the project and lauded the department of Rural development, Northern Angami Chukehie Trustee Board and everyone involved in it, saying that it is for the welfare of the citizens.
He went on to urge the farmers to make use of the facility and set different prices for wholesale and retail, while suggesting the management to set up an outlet for hygienic local meat.
‘Set up colony markets’
The chief minister said that street vendors should be banned in the main town area and suggested the colonies to provide opportunities to them by setting up their own colony markets. He also asked the landowners to set up a marketplace to generate revenue in the form of rent, while such a model will ease traffic.
He said the government will provide assistance for such projects, informing that the people can avail the Chief Minister Microfinance Initiative (CMMFI) scheme being initiated by the state government. He added that the scheme will boost startups, entrepreneurship and farming, be it SHGs, individuals or groups.
‘Talk more about economy’
Rio lamented the ‘majority’ of Nagas talking too much about politics and less about economy. He opined people should discuss more about economy and leave politics to leaders and politicians for the society to progress.
Maintaining that the people of the state faced problems during the pandemic-induced lockdown being a consumer society, he said lessons had been learnt as individuals and the state government as well, with many venturing into farming on realising the importance of self-sufficiency. In this regard, he advised the people to strategize to progress.
While pointing out that 70% of population in Nagaland are farmers, he said the state is gifted with fertile soil having potential for production of various crops and the department of Soil and Water Conservation had also done test on soil health with recommendations for various soils and suitability for different crops.
On coffee plantation
Rio also shared happiness over the massive coffee plantation being taken up by the people, especially those in Northern Angami regions, saying that the crop maintains ecological balance without deforestation.
Sharing his experience in coffee plantation, he termed it ‘satisfying’ with so many benefits.
He informed that from 2015 till date, a total of 39 lakh saplings had been planted across the state in 1733 hectares (HA) with the Northern Angami region accounting for major share of 17 lakh saplings being planted in 780 HA.
He stated that the coffee harvested from the state is the second best coffee in the world with better taste and aroma because of climate, soil and altitude.
Meanwhile, he said coffee did not fail in the state but the Coffee Board had failed the people. On this, he urged the people to take up coffee plantation on a large scale and ensure good quality so that it would be commercially viable to enable supply and meet the market demand.
The chief minister also stressed one the need for a healthy competition among the farmers while asking those managing the market to control the price, provide proper facilities and levy minimum taxes from the vendors after tax-free six months, to maintain the market.
Speaking on the occasion, Neposo Thelü-o, Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, Department of Rural Development, said that it was the idea of the chief minister to build the market to give opportunity to the farmers and the funding was from the grant for rural local bodies during the financial year 2019-20.
He also urged the farmers to make the best use of the facility and progress.
Earlier in the programme, Azenuo Pienyu, Director, Rural Development, delivered the welcome address, while the building construction in-charge Vibeilietuo Kets gave a presentation on the project.
The programme was chaired by K Neibou Sekhose, Additional Director, RD, and vote of thanks proposed by Seyiekhrielie Rio, BDO, Chiephobou.
Rio inaugurated the market complex in the presence of his cabinet colleagues, legislators, government officials, public leaders and farmers.