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Micro orchards for farmers
Correspondent KOHIMA:
Published on 21 Aug. 2009 12:33 AM IST
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Nagaland is set to bloom in micro orchard for cash crops as Entrepreneur’s Associates takes a project on sustainable livelihood for farmers. As many as 160 farmers spread in nine villages are involved in the project, taking up intensive micro orchard on banana, kiwi, cashew, edible bamboo, cardamom, Khasi Mandarin. The farmers are hopeful for a successful harvest of the planted micro orchards. The state has been given three years to plant 50 hectares of banana, 30 hectares of edible bamboo, 45 hectares of Khasi Mandarin, 30 hectares of cardamom, 30 hectares of Kiwi and 15 hectares of Cashew to explore which crop will do well in Nagaland. This mission commenced after the Entrepreneurs Associates (EA) participated in the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) mission for quality planting material production and utilization for the North East” commencing from December 31 2007 for a period of three years. The Entrepreneurs Associates later entered into an MOU with the Nagaland University in May 2008 to identify farmers to plant quality saplings provided by Department of Bio-Technology, New Delhi, through TERRI New Delhi for the project. CEO of Entrepreneurs Associates, Neichute Doulo, briefed the media during a press conference that Nagaland had so far received 12,000 nos of Khasi Mandarin, 1500 saplings of Cashew nuts and 46000 saplings of bananas to be planted by farmers, whereby the farmers have planted 20 hectares banana, 26 hectares of citrus, 15 hectares of Kiwi and 10 hectraes of bamboo. While mentioning that there is non availability of quality planting materials and quality saplings in Nagaland, Doulo also mentioned that the Department of Bio-Technology New Delhi had asked TERRI, the overall project investigator, to supply quality planting materials. He also expressed hope of getting more quality saplings next year from Department of Bio-Technology or TERRI stating that the standards set by the Department of Bio-Technology cannot be met. While Entrepreneurs Associates works on the micro orchard project, it has its share of success stories to tell. Phek district was in 2004 adopted by EA as a pilot district for agri business in cabbage. Today, Phek almost entirely supplies cabbage requirement of the entire Nagaland state. Farmers are benefited through the activities of the EA in terms of Inter-district trade, market linkage for fruits and vegetables, piggery, etc. The Entrepreneurs Associates secures loan from banks standing as guarantors for self employed and unemployed youths taking up income generating activities, besides providing micro loans to farmers, Self Help Groups, churches, VDBs, NGOs etc. It also provides business skill trainings to unemployed and self employed youths, where 145 youths were trained in 2009-10. It has supported about 1700 youths, and about 400 shopkeepers in Dimapur, Kohima and Phek are supported by the Entrepreneurs Associates. Sharing its dream to promote entrepreneurship in Nagaland, the Entrepreneurs Associates CEO said that through partnership with the educated lot in urban areas by venturing together in micro finance can there be a new future filled with development and economic growth in the state. Neichute Doulo also shared his concern stating that the EA envisions Nagaland as a paying-tax region by 2025. This, he said, will impact the quality of democratic meaningful governance and curb corruption in the state establishment.

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