With just some handful of experts from diverse field and handpicked from various departments to implement a project in the state, the eco friendly project Nagaland Empowerment through Economic Development (NEPED) established in 1995 had emerged as an institute of innovation and excellence in its fifteen years of existence.
Instituted as a short term eco friendly Indo-Canadian funded project with tree plantation in Jhum land, NEPED has but full of innovations and successes in its journey.
It started with successful tree plantation followed by successful introductions of various alternative cash crops to the farmers of the state which had resulted in a sea change in the economy of the farmers in the state today.
Not only alternative cash crops but had brought about revolution including introduction of micro hydro power generation technology called Hydroger. From the beginning, NEPED had been “encroaching” to the fields of various departments and continues to do so, earning some discomfort and jealousy as well from the affecting department.
“We are number one encroacher from the very beginning and we’ve encroached into the field of many departments so far”, NEPED officials quipped. NEPED presently had “encroached” into the field of the state Veterinary department by implementing livestock rearing projects as part of the rehabilitation component of the Watershed Development Project for Shifting Cultivation Area (WDPSCA) funded by the Union Social Welfare Ministry.
While, implementing this project, NEPED had evolved yet another of its innovations by introducing Animals Health Worker Network in the state, which perhaps is the first and only of its kind in the country and the world as well.
NEPED project covers ten districts and 63 projects in villages since the past two years. The project was aimed to supplement the economy of the villagers while discouraging them from practicing Jhum cultivation.
Based on the baseline survey where most of the villagers opted for livestock raring mostly piggery, NEPED is providing the seed money of Rs 8000 per household to buy piglet for raring.
Every year, about 2200 household were covered by the project and is expected to cover 10,000 household by the end of the five year project. NEPED POU members Dr.V.Rutsa, Vizonyu Liezie and Michael Zerem disclosed while interacting with Nagaland Post.
As per the national sample survey, Nagaland had a population of 6.4 lakh pigs while the state annually import about Rs.130 to Rs.150 crore worth of pork from outsides the state.
Therefore, piggery has been given impetus as it would reduce the import of pork from outside the state and also the outflow of money from the state, the NEPED official asserted. As part of the project, NEPED had been conducting series of training for volunteer Animals Health Workers from NEPED project villages.
NEPED in collaboration with the state veterinary department however is providing a medical kits including cold box to carry free supply of medicines to their respective villages and carry out vaccinations. Kubza village under Mokokchung district is a glaring example of the success story of this project, where 180 household of the village had on record earned Rs.10, 87, 000 (Rs.10.87 lakh) through the sale proceeds of pig rearing.
Furthermore, the villager is said to have made mandatory that pig are not sold or butchered until it attain 100 Kg or 1 year. The village has reportedly banned import of piglet or pork to the village while it was made mandatory for the household to replace any pig that was butchered or sold within a week time.
When asked on the secret of successes of NEPED, the NEPED POU members admitted that unlike other department, NEPED doesn’t plan anything by sitting in the office but go to the grass root people at the village and plan out things on their need based.