‘Naga society still in the food gathering stage’

North East Summit on Food Processing discuss building growth strategies, raising investments

Morung Express News

Dimapur | March 14

Building growth strategies for food processing with inputs from entrepreneurs and ‘Kisan Sampada Yojana’ scheme and other avenues for raising investments were the focal points of the one-day ‘North East Summit on Food Processing’ held here at Niathu Resort on Wednesday.

 

Principal Secretary, Department of Industries & Commerce, Nagaland, Menukhol John, the chief guest of the inaugural session in his address said entrepreneurs have to take the lead in initiating discussions and aspects relating to policies and decisions on food processing. The principal secretary said entrepreneurs should invite departments, financial institutions and other stakeholders and highlight their problems so that together their problems and grievances can be addressed. Menukhol also said stakeholders including entrepreneurs should ponder on the scope of ‘Make in Nagaland’ in the food processing sector.

 

He said different regions and states have their own peculiar problems and some central schemes or programmes which are being implemented smoothly in other states of the country may not be viable in the North East Region or Nagaland.

 

Taking the Kisan Sampada Yojana as a case in point, Menukhol said Naga entrepreneurs may find it difficult to fulfill some guidelines of the scheme including the investment component.

 

“If it’s good on paper but cannot be implemented on the ground, then what is the use?” the principal secretary asked.

 

He admitted that issues of collateral, non-performance and non-repayment of loans or subsidies in Nagaland can be “mind boggling” and that the element of risk is always there for FIs investing in Nagaland.

 

The Industries & Commerce principal secretary however reminded that majority of the Naga entrepreneurs are first-generation entrepreneurs and many lack financial backup or expertise to kick-start their business without active support of financial institutions (FIs) and viable schemes and programmes.

 

“We (Naga society) are still in the food gathering stage. Please understand they (local entrepreneurs) are first-generation entrepreneurs and they may not know the tricks of the rope”, Menukhol said and appealed to the FIs not to discourage the genuine entrepreneurs.

 

Further, he underscored the need to open a hub at MSME Dimapur with single window information system for benefit of entrepreneurs.

 

General Manager/OIC, NABARD Nagaland, SK Dhumal, said NABARD was taking a “holistic view” with regard to food processing and initiating programmes to boost economy of local farmers and entrepreneurs. Stating that the bank was trying its best to add value chain to rural eco-system, Dhumal also informed that a food park would be coming up soon in the state.

 

Managing Director, NIDC, CM Lotha, gave an overview of the visions of NIDC with regard to food processing in the state.

 

Deputy director, MSME Dimapur, Tali Longchar, in his keynote address stressed on the need for all stakeholders to adopt a convergence policy for promotion of food processing enterprise in the state.

 

Resource persons in the plenary sessions included deputy director (Food Processing) Industries & Commerce, Khrielie Peseyie; scientist (Horticulture Vegetable Science), ICAR, Aabon W Yanthan; GM, NABARD Nagaland, SK Dhumal; and AGM, SBI, Besü Bosco.

 

A representative of ASSOCHAM, presented the summing up of the summit and the road map ahead.