Dimapur, March 2: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today flagged off air cargo service from Dimapur Airport consisting of 128 cartons of perishable and non-perishable fruits and vegetables including some finished products.
Speaking on the occasion, Rio said that it was a long-felt desire of the people of Nagaland to have air cargo facility at Dimapur Airport as many of the products from Nagaland could not be sent outside the state.
He said Nagaland is blessed with vast land resources and varied agro-climatic conditions and is very rich in bio-diversity. He said Nagaland has a wide range of horticulture products, organic produce, fruits and vegetables, plantation crops and exotic flowers.
He said farmers can produce such crops and urged the youths to take up modern farming and produce high yielding fruits and vegetables, mostly organic, adding there is a need to make these products reach markets in cosmopolitan cities.
Stating that it is a huge challenge for everyone, the Chief Minister hoped that farmers and entrepreneurs will take it very seriously.
He also called upon the Departments of Horticulture and Agriculture not to stick to demonstrations only, but come forward to make the entrepreneurs a big partner in the supply chain. “Our state is consumer society. We don’t have a supply chain, so our perishable produced and processed food products have to reach cosmopolitan cities, if not beyond,” he said.
Claiming that Nagas have lots of potentials, Rio regretted that there are so many fruits produced in Nagaland, but there were no buyers. He said smaller fruits should be turned into juice or wine, but this facility is not there in the state and therefore the labour is wasted.
He further said that the products should be demand driven.
Stressing on the challenges ahead, Rio said that the farmers should produce consistently and the produce should reach the air cargo station in quickest time with least cost at the same time maintaining the quality. He also felt the need to educate the farmers and even the entrepreneurs through workshops or to have discussion to make them understand how better business can be done where farmers and the people who are involved doing business, transporting from farms to air cargo station get their share of profits and the consumers should be satisfied.
Regional Executive Director, AAI, Northeast Region, M Suresh said that cargo is a small operation, but has value for the products.
With the starting of air cargo from Dimapur Airport, he said chances of operating big aircrafts will be bright now. He informed that the cargo service will be through the passenger terminal building at present, but a new terminal building will come up soon.
He also said that the AAI is planning new cargo set up with cold storage, security etc and people can expect lots of lights to come to Dimapur airport.
Advisor for Horticulture, Mhathung Yanthan said that the cargo service may be a small activity, but will surely affect the economy of the state and the benefits would be monumental.
He said there is immense demand for products from Nagaland in the country and abroad, however, these are perishable products, so the delivery system has to be fast.
He urged all the stakeholders to make use of the facility at Dimapur airport. (Page News Service)