‘Nagaland farmers need better value chain management’
Dimapur, March 11 (EMN): Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC), Y Kikheto Sema on Thursday stated that the Northeast region is considered as the organic hub of the country and that it is the ‘right time’ to invest in Nagaland.
Sema was speaking at the conference cum buyer-seller meet for agriculture and horticulture products at Hotel Saramati on March 11.
The conference cum buyer-seller meet, which will culminate on March 12, was organised by the department of Agriculture and sponsored by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) with special focus on organic products of Nagaland.
The APC said that the Northeast region provides not only the best crops and vegetables but also the best ecological services to mankind.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while visualising that Northeast is going to be organic hub in the country, has initiated the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) scheme and the department of Agriculture and Horticulture is also implementing this scheme,” he said
He informed that the infrastructure and road connectivity was improving and acknowledged the Central government for giving importance to the Northeast region.
Sema said that one hindrance they face in Nagaland is the land holding system and the practise of traditional farming that is jhum and shifting cultivation, which is not economically viable and economically sustainable.
“But on the contrary, the traditional system of cultivation cannot be stopped as it is part of the tradition and culture of Nagas,” he added.
Sema asserted that people talk about food security but not about water security, which is instrumental for sustainable agriculture, and therefore it needs to revive springs, rivers and other water bodies.
The APC urged the gathering to provide the best price to the farmers as the crops produced in the state were of superior quality. He cited coffee produced in Nagaland, which he said was “one of the most sought-after coffees in the world for its unique taste”.
During the event, Additional Director of Agriculture, S Kivikhu Achumi gave an overview on Nagaland organic crops, and stated that about 70 per cent of the people are engaged in agriculture for their livelihood and produce by traditional farmers of Nagaland are ‘organic by default’.
‘Nagaland needs to be accompanied by better value chain management and improved access to markets so that the farmers could realise the potential of their produce,’Achumi said, adding that food processing is the need of the hour in order to access external markets.
Further, Achumi informed that at present, the department of Agriculture and Horticulture has 18 registered farmer producer organisations and farmer producer companies under MOVCDNER covering 13,000 hectares. He added that in order to facilitate stronger marketing access under the ownership of the grower’s organisation, the government of Nagaland had registered the brand name “Naga organic”.
He informed that so far, 6000 hectares have been certified as organic and another 7000 hectares under second year conversion with compliance to the national programme for organic productions by OneCert International Pvt. Ltd.
Also speaking on the occasion, Assistant General Manager of Apeda, Sunita Rai said that regional office of Apeda located in Guwahati is looking after all the Northeast states and some of the products under purview of Apeda are fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, honey, pickles, floriculture, herbal plants etc.
Rai said that Apeda was involved in registration of exporters, market development and promotions, development of industries etc. She added that the advantages of the Northeast region were geographical location, organic hub and biodiversity- Agro climatic zones.
She went on to say Apeda identifies products and market destinations, and that export to Bangladesh was the highest from the Northeast region, while Bhutan was second.