Dr Asangba Tzudir
The Business 20 (B20) is a group that represents the private sector within the Group of 20 (G20) Forum. The B20 was primarily established to give a platform for the business community to engage with the G20 and to offer suggestions and recommendations on policies that can support global economic growth and development.
As such, to explore the possibilities of partnership among business communities from G20 member countries with the objective of developing a common agenda for development of critical sectors of the economy as growth drivers, this B20 is being organized in the North Eastern States of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs and North Eastern State Governments.
Towards showcasing the potentialities of the State of Nagaland, the main thrust area of the B20 Meet will be on Agriculture and food processing. This is indeed a great opportunity for Nagaland to gain a foothold in the world map especially in the areas of Agriculture and Horticulture. A lot depends on how the state showcases the position of Agriculture and Horticulture.
The immaculate nature’s beauty, of scintillating hills and valleys in a tranquil abode presenting to the world as the ‘Wild East’ coupled with the colorful culture that each tribe brings are reasons that has boosted the tourism sector. While the status and scope of tourism in Nagaland is already made known to the world, this B20 business meet has presented an opportunity to showcase and tell what Nagaland can offer to the world. Yes, horticultural crops like Naga King Chilly, Naga tree tomato, Naga pineapple have slowly made their mark in the global commercial market but a lot depends on how we present. This is where a lot needs to be done on the aspect of food processing and which needs to be industrialized in consideration of so many linked aspects.
As the B20 meet presents an opportunity to ‘look’ beyond Nagaland, it largely depends on the premise of how we look on the inside. And among the discouraging factors is the confronting hurdle of roads and connectivity which is integral to foster development so also to encourage and incentivize farmers. One would wish the truckloads to essential commodities that comes into Dimapur everyday is transported from various districts of Nagaland. These are critical considerations of the need to look inside.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) has in consultation with the ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) had finalized the products for One District One Focus Product for 728 districts across the country, including 11 from Nagaland which includes Kholar, pickle, pineapple, ginger, Naga King Chilly, fish, kiwi, coffee and soya beans. This one product aspect also needs to be greatly encouraged practically for fostering growth and cost-effective production on such a scale that would attract national and international attention. At present Nagaland seems to be producing more waste where Dimapur alone produces 115 metric tons of waste per day and we are still in the process of exploiting waste to gold.
The lack of proper roads and connectivity, cost effective production, so also the waste production are aspects that greatly impacts the tourism sector, it also disrupts the larger linkages with Agriculture that would enable looking beyond in the present context of B20.
On a positive note, Naga value system is built around community values and this augurs well for community as well as economic development as we present our case to the world. However, we should not lose the bargaining chip in the process and fall in the trap of exploitation.
(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to [email protected])