Monday, November 30, 2020
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Naga farmers at crossroads: Mhathung


Dimapur, November 30: Mhathung Yanthan, Advisor, Department of Horticulture, on Saturday said that while Nagaland has abundance of natural resources and the conditions here are apt for any kind of crops, Naga farmers are trapped in a vicious cycle of “no market-no production on commercial scale; and vice versa,” and there is a need to break the cycle and bring the migrating farmers from urban areas back to the villages and into farming.
He was speaking as a guest in the Pineapple Fest held at Molvom-Bio Village.
Calling Nagaland an agrarian state, he said the State’s economy depends on agriculture as 70% of the population lives in villages and depends on agriculture for their livelihood, contributing to 30% of the GSDP and providing 50% of employment. However, he said, the farming is only subsistence and there is no marketable surplus.
Mhathung blamed poor market infrastructure and unorganized marketing system for farmers not getting the benefit and added that there is no dearth of production if market is developed and assured market but at the moment, farmers are confused as to whether they should produce, what to produce, and how much to produce.
“I feel Naga farmers are at crossroads,” he said and explained they are caught between traditional system and the modern system of farming.
Expressing happiness over the conduct of the fest, Yanthan asked the farmers to maintain the recognition that the village has received by working continuously. He added that there is a need for the produce now to be aggressively advertised so that when people buy the product, they understand that it’s worth the money.
“Molvom village is known for producing one of the sweetest pineapples in the world,” he said.
He informed that Molvom and neighbouring villages cultivate organic pineapple covering 800 hectares, currently under its 3rd year of conversion under MOVCD-NER and formed FPC, registered under Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GoI as ‘Molsang Organic Pineapple Producer Company Ltd,’ one of the first FPCs in the State which has bright future for growth and expansion. He said that presently, the villages produce 20,000 metric tons of pineapples per year.
Assuring that the DAN Government is for the farmers, he said that the Government under Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio accords high priority to development of agro sector for boosting the economy of the State and focused attention is given to development of post harvest technology and market infrastructure.
He informed that initiatives are in place to establish market linkages of State’s niche products to outside the State through railways, aircargo etc. and discussions are underway with various stakeholders. He also said that the Draft State Organic Policy is being prepared and awaits approval of the Government for adoption and implementation.
Earlier, president of Nagaland Organic Konnect, Prof. Akali Sema said that the cultivation of pineapple in Molvom started in the year 1972, prior to which, the economy of the village depended on the cultivation of paddy, but with pineapple, the economy improved and put the village on the world map.
Alet Letjahao, Gaonbura of the village said though the cultivation commercially started in 1972, pineapples were being grown in the villages as long as during the post Second World War days, but in a very small quantity in the kitchen gardens and now, more than 100 farmers are cultivating pineapples in the village.
The fest was organized by Nagaland Organic Konnect and Government of Nagaland. (Page News Service)