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Naga tag for food products: Rio

Neiphiu Rio with his cabinet colleagues and officials at the inauguration of the New Horticulture Directorate in Kohima on Wednesday. (DIPR)
Correspondent KOHIMA, NOV 3 (NPN):
Published on 4 Nov. 2010 12:52 AM IST
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Chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday called upon the department of horticulture to promote a food product that could be identified with the Nagas as a tag. Emphasizing the need to concentrate on few crops in which the state has the advantage over other states, Rio said that with this we could be the leaders in the market.
Speaking at the inauguration of new directorate building of horticulture department at New Secretariat area Kohima on Wednesday, Rio suggested that the Naga King chilly (Raja Mircha) was one crop, which could be distinctly characterized with the Nagas and in which the state can be the world leader since it was indigenous to the state and registered in geographical indication. In order to promote the crop, Rio informed that a raw King Chilly eating competition would be held during the Hornbill Festival.
He underlined the need for agro-allied sector to identify food products or crops, which were favourable to the climate and could be marketed and produced for self-sufficiency. Pointing out that Nagaland was an agrarian state with 80% of its population involved in cultivation, Rio said only 24% of gross domestic product was produced in the state while the rest were imported from outside. He emphasized the need to improve the system of cultivation in the state and also to produce more as the state required 5.40 lakh metric tones food grain. At present, the state produces only 3.67 lakh metric tones of food grain.
Rio further said that crores of rupees were spent annually on buying seedlings for cultivation. In this regard, he said that Nagaland should stop being a consumer state and need to start producing to be self sufficient.
He also said that Nagaland should work towards reaching her target of food sufficiency and food security for all as per Vision 2020. Rio lauded the horticulture department, particularly growers and women Self Help Groups of floriculture, for producing good results and achieving laurels.
Parliamentary secretary of horticulture, R. Khing expressed hope that the new directorate building would boost officials to give more effort in making the state flourish in horticulture. He also hoped that the promotion of horticulture would gradually change the eating habits of the Nagas and thereby improve their health.
Meanwhile, presenting the technical report, EE PWD (H) Er. Imkong Imchen said that the new directorate was built with a total amount of Rs.345.74 lakhs with funds from the state government and Special Plan Assistance. Constructed by contractor T. Sekhose and N.K. Construction Agency, the four storeyed building has 22 rooms with canteen, conference hall, parking area and chowkidar’s quarter. The department is also under the process of constructing a supervisory and training centre and a green house.
Earlier, building dedication prayer was said by Keduo Yhome, pastor, Phezoucha Baptist Church while Sentiyanger Imchen, commissioner and secretary horticulture, geology and mining, chaired the programme. The chief minister was accompanied by legislators and bureaucrats.

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