Nagaland seeks to boost production

Nagas ‘should become self reliant & not be too dependant on the govt.’

Our Correspondent
Kohima | May 8 

Collective effort  as an imperative to boost agriculture and allied activities in Nagaland and to enhance the production and marketing linkages were highlighted at today’s state-level seminar on agro-marketing in Kohima.  

The seminar also addressed streamlining the system of agriculture and allied activities for an impetus. Speaking at the seminar, Minister for Planning T.R. Zeliang said the state government has embarked on a policy for commercial-scale production as the main theme from the 10th plan onwards. The minister pointed to organizing post-harvest management issues in the agriculture sector such as marketing, storage, transport and processing. “This is also the core issue of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and the efforts of the government to organize them to benefit not only the farmers but also give a direction to the economy of the state,” Zeliang said.

Stating agriculture to be the core economic activity for the next fifteen to twenty years, he said the government had brought out “this very clearly in our ‘Vision 2020’ envisaged in the State Human Development Report 2004. The state is continuing its marketing systems based on the earlier understanding of individual ‘backyard farming’ approach; Further, he said, almost all markets are still in the form of ‘distress sale’ rather than organized marketing based on commercial surpluses. 

“Ours is still a primitive market and not organized in the way it should be befitting a modern society,” the minister explained. He however, complemented the Agriculture department for its efforts to promote APMCs and placing infrastructures.  “It is now necessary to make them effective and efficient,” he said. Advising to ensure that the APMCs do not act or become like government agencies, the minister said they should view themselves as part of the dynamics of the agricultural market economy. 

They must become viable as private sector operators and should be profit oriented – not only for themselves but also for the farmers, he said. He said the APMCs should not be exploitative but be supportive to farmers to continue in their commercial production. 

“They should become self reliant in their business and not be too much dependant on the government as such dependency will only lead to their own failure,” he added.

Minister for Agriculture Dr.Chumben Murry formally launched ‘Agronag’ programme ‘, which focuses on establishing a professional training centre for capacity-building for the educated unemployed youths. The state has immense potential for generation of surplus and quality productions of many commercial crops. However due to the lack of proper market outlets and technological facilities like value addition/processing, grading and packaging sector, most of these produces cannot be marketed or sold at throw away prices.

It stated that the department has identified these problems and formulated a policy for the programme implementation by establishing a professional training centre for capacity building of entrepreneurs for the local educated unemployed youth. The centre aims to generate self employment and livelihood opportunities for the educated as well as school drop-out unemployed youth and to facilitate commercial farming and marketing of agriculture and allied produces.

It is proposed to establish Central Agronag Centre in Dimapur where all the required machineries for processing and value addition units will be installed within the present market complex at 4th Mile. The same centre will be established in all district APMC Centers. Dr.Chumben said the government was giving much importance to agriculture and allied activities, adding that a lot of changes have taken place.

Stating that 82 % of the population are in rural areas, while 86 % work force are engaged in agriculture and allied sector, he said that unless we develop these sectors, all round development cannot take place. The minister said that the government is now focusing on expanding marketing system in the state. Also, Commissioner & Secretary Sentiyanger, IAS said that in the coming year the department will be focusing on expansion of cultivation areas and higher productivity. 

M. Yanthan, IAS Commissioner & Secretary Veterinary said 99 per cent of the population of the state consumes meat, milk and eggs. The sample survey report of the department of veterinary & animal husbandry (2006-07) indicates that the state imports about 19,000 tones of meat, 5000 tones of powder milk and 275 lakhs of eggs from outside the state annually. This import value is about Rs. 220 crores and accounts for 39 per cent of the state requirement and the rest 61 per cent is being produced from the state itself. He called upon the gathering to ponder as to what and how effectively the state can come up with Act and Rules for animal husbandry products.