Kohima, November 21: Entrepreneurs Associates (EA) Nagaland is launching “Trees for wealth movement” in 200 villages of all the districts of the state.
Briefing media persons at its office Thursday, EA’s CEO Neichute Duolo along with his Program Manager Benjamin Vinito Chishi and Susan Angami said climate change is real and we all are experiencing it and the simplest and cheapest lasting solutions in the fight of climate change is planting more trees.
In Nagaland, he said apart from erratic and extreme weathers, there are no longer the erstwhile white snow capped mountain of Saramati due to climate change.
Since 2000, EA has been working to promote entrepreneurship and develop sustainable livelihoods in Nagaland and other North Eastern states of India for economic development and increased participation of local people in the economic activities of the states for social equity and harmony, he said.
Maintaining that planting trees is the simplest solution to overcome impact of climate change, Duolo said this movement is not only to have cleaner air but will also rejuvenate the ecosystem.
There are many movements for planting trees around the globe, and in Nagaland, the EA is innovating a movement to plant not just trees but Fruit Trees starting with native ones like Persimmon, Walnut, Chestnut, Hazelnut, Pears, Peach, Guava, Lemon, Plums, Naga apple, Avocado, etc.
“This innovation is built upon the experiences of EA since 2006 where farmers planted many more fruit trees on their own once the benefits of fruit trees were established. Farmers zealously began to protect Trees from being felled as it became the “money tree”, he said.
Since 2008 till 2017, EA has been continuously experimenting fruit trees like Avocado, Persimmon, Naga Apple, Khasi Mandarin, Lemons, Plums, Cashew nut with mixed results.
“We failed with Khasi Mandarin and Cashew nut trees. But EA’s success with Naga apple, Persimmon, Lemon, Avocado, Lemon and Plum has convinced us to think big,” he said.
Hence, EA is launching the Trees for Wealth Movement with the citizenry as our social investors.
He said the movement will support at least 50 farmers in 200 villages totalling to 10,000 farmers in 5 years time, ensuring that each farmer plants 200 to 300 fruit trees with 50% sapling cost incentive from EA and 50% of the sapling cost borne by farmers to instill ownership for better success.
This means at least 2 million fruit trees are planted in Nagaland in years ahead, he said.
“Given the assumption that one fruit tree generates Rs.2500 per annum on an average, we are looking at generating Rs. 500,000 income annually to a farmer in the village,” he said.
The cumulatively, Rs.500 Cr annual income will flow in for 10,000 rural farm families in Nagaland by 2028, he hoped.
“We hope such rural enterprise will not only slow down rural migration to urban areas which is taking place at a frighteningly rapid pace, but will in the long run – Reverse Urbanisation,” he said.
Under the Trees for Wealth Movement, “we hope to see that by 2035, Nagaland plants 100 million fruit trees with 100,000 people planting on an average 1000 fruit trees,” he said.
Through this movement we want to make Nagaland the Fruit hub of India, Duolo added.
He hoped the movement will trigger profitable nurseries, cold chain and food processing industries in Nagaland.
“Such a bold innovation is possible in Nagaland precisely because Nagaland’s Mountains are young with temperate climate, unique fragmented land holding by every Naga family and because Nagaland is in one of the six hot spots of the world’s ecosystems,” said Duolo.
(Page News Service)