Dimapur, November 29: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today said Nagaland has huge scope of becoming an organic hub of the country as there are immense opportunities to be tapped.
Speaking at the International Organic Forum and Interact with International Organic Experts and Pioneers at Niathu Resort today, Rio said ‘organic’ is a very important and interesting topic because society of the world is seriously discussing about organic culture as demand and supply must match.
He said more and more farmers are needed to grow vegetables/fruits by learning what is organic and that how can they quality for certification.
“Nagaland also wants to deal with organic but we need to know how to go about,” he said, while expressing happiness that youths of the state are coming forward and getting trained in this field.
He said Nagaland, no doubt is fast catching up with other states, but due to poor quality and weak marketing infrastructure, farmers are not getting the real benefits. To ensure that Nagaland achieves its prime place in organic food production and organic markets, it has to concentrate on the entire value chain of organic production and market-access system.
Stating that “our forefathers were not exposed to the market”, the chief minister said, “We are talking about mass production on an economic scale. After training the people can produce, but they need market link.”
Explaining about the Naga way of farming, he said, “Our Naga way of cultivation is for sustenance-slash, burn and cultivate,” adding, “You destroy your own forest and cultivate.”
He said in modern way of farming, one needs scientific approach. “If a tiny country like Taiwan can produce, why not we?” he asked adding Northeast and Nagaland has natural fertile land. He said there are only 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world, Nagaland and the Northeast falls under one of them.
On the occasion, Rio also informed the national and international delegates that due to Naga struggle, Nagas have been bogged down for too long. However, he said since negotiations have officially concluded on October 31 last, new agreement would be signed for settlement, after which Nagas can fully devote their time and energy in farming.
“If you are given the knowledge of farming and you are organic, then our income will double,” he said.
He said farmers earn very little despite working hard in fields, therefore a proper system needs to be brought in so that all benefit go to the farmers. “Once you are interested, it will become a way of life. We can export the excess product as experts will help in market links,” he said.
Stating that all look at government jobs, the Chief Minister said as per population average, Nagaland has the highest government jobs and it has already reached the saturation point. In such a case, farming with good market, good product would be profitable.
He said for Nagaland to host the International Organic Forum at this opportune time is a boon and a much-needed impetus for the state to move forward in the sustainable agriculture movement.
He hoped that Nagaland’s organic story should be able to take off by 2 to 3 years.
CEO of Investment Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN), Alemtemshi Jamir, IAS (retd) in his remark said that the problem before the world is that it needs to feed 7.7 billion people, which would be 13 billion by 2050.
He said 13 billion hectare of land is need, but only 1.6 billion hectare is available at present, which is affecting the lives of people.
Regarding Nagaland, he disclosed that only 13000 hectares of land is available and think about making this land fully organic. He also challenged the youths to take this up as a cause.
Earlier, welcome address was given by Minister for Planning Neiba Kronu. Others who spoke during the sessions included Zhou Zejiang, President, IFOAM Asia, Wen Lee, Commissioner of Agriculture Department, New Taipei City Government; Byeonggon Choi, AlGOA Project Officer, Geosan Country, South Korea; Miyoshi Satoko, Representative, GOTS in Japan, Vice President, IFOAM Asia and ALGOA Ambassador; Dr A K Yadav, Former Director, National Centre for Organic Farming, New Delhi; Bablu Ganguly, Board Member, IFOAM Organics International; Manisha Kairaly, Director for Enterprise and design, The Timbaktu Collective. (Page News Service)