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Rio kickstarts Marketing summit
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, DEC 15 (NPN):
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Published on 16 Dec. 2010 12:37 AM IST
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State Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday called upon the farmers of the region to understand and adapt themselves to the changing trends in national and international environments in order to successfully market their products. Delivering the inaugural address at the NE marketing summit held on the theme ‘Issues and challenges in agriculture sector’, Rio underscored the importance of maintaining quality, presentation and consistency to tap into the vast agricultural market. “Let no one forget that there can be no compromise on quality” he affirmed. While maintaining that focus will be on providing quality assurance, packaging and branding, Rio assured that government will set up quality control and testing systems and provide support to in the form of grants, subsidies and loans at low rates on interest to promote high value crops.
Pointing out that agriculture production and marketing were inseparable; Rio asserted that the state government was giving top priority by introducing a slew of measures. Some of the steps taken up include crop zoning, passing of Nagaland Agricultural Produce Marketing Development & Regulation Act, setting up of APMCs and VMCs, introduction of ‘revolving fund’ loan without interest through NSAMB, building of rural godowns, wholesale markets and cold chain facilities. Rio also further informed that 32 villages under Tuensang have been brought under ‘organic rajmah (kholar)’ cultivation certified by SGS Ltd Kolkata.
Elucidating on the problems faced by the government on the marketing aspect, Rio lamented that despite the adequate surplus of produce the government was still facing problems of resources, funds and capacity of human resources. He also blamed the fragmentation of land holdings, peculiar land holding systems, rampant practice of shifting cultivation and absence of proper organization among the farmers for further compounding the problems.
Delving on the present marketing system, the chief minister criticized the long and fragmented supply chain which he added was bringing out more wastage and unfair price to the producers. With this issue in mind, he informed that terminal markets operating on a hub-spoke format has been conceptualized. Rio also disclosed that two terminal market complexes in PPP mode were already in the offing for Tuli and Dimapur.
Delivering the key note address, VC CAU Imphal Dr SN Puri expressed concern over the lack of investments within the region despite the keen interest shown by many stake holders. While calling upon the law makers to find out the reasons for slow response towards investment, Dr Puri opined that creating an atmosphere free from fear of threats should be the top priority in order to bring about a perceptible change in the economy of the region. The VC also pointed out that despite the rapid transformation in the field of agricultural across the country, the NE region has been witnessing a trend of deceleration with serious complications for employment, food security, farmers income and poverty alleviation. “Poverty and unemployment are the biggest impediments of development in these states” he added.
While asserting that shifting cultivation was contributing towards unemployment within the NER, Dr Puri informed that the maximum affect was observed in Nagaland. He also said that all hilly states of the region might be called as ‘land of shifting cultivators’.
Elucidating on the problems faced by varied agri and allied products across the region, Dr Puri blamed the low usage of production technology for shortfall in rice production in most states. He also suggested for multi cropping for efficiency in resource management and increased production.
While maintaining that the region has diverse factors and potential for horticulture development, Dr Puri lamented that it remains still under developed with less endeavors to introduce potential exotic horti species and promote the concepts of off season crops in the region. He also further pointed out the huge gene pool of different agri/horti crops available within the region and increase in demand for organic produce can be the deciding factor if utilized properly.
The VC also informed that as per the National Specialization Index (NER Vision 2020), Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim possessed the highest advantage in producing ginger, Manipur and Meghalaya in pine apple, Nagaland in turmeric and Tripura in rubber.
Listing out some suggestions for improving the present agri & allied sector scenario, Dr Suri called for introducing the concept of contract farming, increasing value added products, entrepreneurship development, formation of SHGs, enactment of APM (amendment0 Act of 1983, regulated and linkages of markets and encouraging PPP mode. Moreover, the VC also called for proactive role from the state governments to encourage private players in agri-horti commodity marketing. “Lack of infrastructure and marketing facilities is an important impediment in realizing the potential of higher value agriculture in this region” he added.
On the marketing front, he said that markets should be viewed as facilitators rather than masters and called for expanding trade across the international border and increase in volume of market surplus at the primary level inorder to utilize the huge potential. However he also reminded that marketing of horti products was more complex due to their perishability, seasonality etc. “There is also massive wastage, deterioration in quality and frequent mismatch between demand and supply both spatially and over time” he added.

 
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