Minister for Agriculture & Corporation, G Kaito Aye addressing the outreach cum buyer seller meet on organic food production in North East held at Hotel Japfü, Kohima on August 20.
Kohima, August 20 (MExN): Nagaland State Advisor for Horticulture, Mhathung Yanthan today informed that the state is on the verge of formulating a ‘Nagaland State Organic Policy.’
Addressing an outreach cum buyer seller meet on organic food production in North East, held in Kohima on August 20, Yanthan said “our State is in the final stage of bringing out our 'Nagaland State Organic Policy' which will be able to guide us in transforming our State's 'Organic by default' into an 'Organic by design' hub.”
A DIPR report informed that the meet was organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in collaboration with the Agriculture Department and sponsored by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Yanthan noted that the event was held at an appropriate time as the entire North East is looking towards organic farming for transforming the economy.
The benefit of having a varied topography and diverse agro climatic region within the State itself presents extra-ordinary opportunity to designate some of these areas as completely organic, he said, adding that the government is working on this.
He was optimistic that the discussions and interactions between the different stakeholders will generate new ideas and tangible recommendations for farmers and organic producers so that the issue of marketing organic produces can be tackled effectively. He urged all stakeholders—sellers, buyers and the policy makers to come together and chalk out a comprehensive plan to take the way forward.
Minister for Agriculture & Corporation, G Kaito Aye, earlier stated that the meet was an initiative to uplift and promote agro based farmers of the state and the government is giving all its efforts to make Nagaland an organic state.
To facilitate stronger marketing access under the ownership of growers’ organization, the Government of Nagaland has registered the brand as ‘Naga Organic.’ The FPOs and entrepreneurs under the mission have started selling their produces and products under this brand, he informed.
Setback of market accessibility
The Minister acknowledged that there were several hurdles to be overcome. They include lack of market information and linkages with buyers, lack of storage and cold chain facilities, high cost of third party organic certification which has to be borne by the farmers after the completion of Government’s sponsored programme, high cost of transportation from farm to collection centers and to the market due to hilly terrain, lack of air cargo facility and other logistics in most of the Airports in North-East region except Guwahati particularly for the export of fresh vegetables, fruits and floriculture, and lack of processing and packaging facilities which are yet to be streamlined.
He however assured that the government is taking up measures to tackle the issues and said it would explore the prospects of organic food production in the State.
Kaito also urged the ICC, APEDA, the buyers and investors to continue to support and promote agro-based farmers in the state to make their venture successful both in words and in deeds. He hoped this meet would help fulfill Nagaland’s potential in the organic food production sector and the immense scope of investment in food processing industries.
Principal Secretary, Horticulture, MK Mero meanwhile emphasized on the promotion of organic farming and cultivation practices. He also stressed on certifications policies on organic products and the difficulties faced in logistics, exports and connectivity problems, lack of cold storage, infrastructure etc.