Convergence essential for agri sector growth: Rio

Convergence essential for agri sector growth: Rio
Neiphiu with Kaito, Tovihoto , Mhathung , Rasha and other officials. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JAN 19 (NPN) | Publish Date: 1/19/2019 11:23:44 AM IST

State chief minister, Neiphiu Rio, has emphasised on the importance of convergence of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) meant for farmers/rural people so beneficiaries could avail maximum benefit.

He was speaking at the launching programme of International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) loan funded six-year (2018-2023) project – Fostering Climate Resilient Upland Farming Systems in Northeast (FOCUS-Nagaland) – at Hotel Saramati here Saturday.

“There are many support and projects from central government but too many projects confuse the farmers, so convergence becomes essential,” said Rio.

The chief minister lamented that although there have been “many success stories of many projects”, the same had failed the people. He said that despite launching of “too many” schemes/programmes, the state economy remained the same.

Rio, who is also the chief patron, was optimistic that IFAD project FOCUS Nagaland would change the pitiable economic condition of the state –– from being a consumer state to producing state.

Expressing gratitude to IFAD for focusing on Nagaland, Rio said, “IFAD coming to our state is godsend. It is our dream to grow economically and with your expertise and knowledge you can rescue us from our economic condition.”

Describing Nagas as hardworking people, Rio said the farmers just need proper training, good guidance and handholding so they could produce sufficiently and market the excess.

He also called upon the government departments, agencies and civil society organisations working for the farmers to come together under the guidance of IFAD and work for the economic growth of the people living in rural areas.

The chief minister assured full cooperation from the state government and timely release of funds.

In a keynote address, minister for agriculture, G Kaito Aye, pointed out that since the formation of statehood, agriculture sector had no externally aided project in Nagaland. 

He was optimistic that IFAD funded project would boost the agriculture economy of the state especially when the project was focusing on improving jhum, the occupation of 70% of the rural population. “I hope that the farmers will have a paradigm shift from subsistence agriculture to market economy and will increase their purchasing power and double their income,” said Kaito.

Kaito also hoped that Nagaland agricultural economy would achieve agricultural revolution and that IFAD’s FOCUS Nagaland project would be a major contributor towards this end.

Speaking on IFAD partnership with government of Nagaland, IFAD India representative, Rasha Omar, informed that the initial activities to ground the project have been completed. She said that IFAD was looking forward to 2019-2020 for effective implementation of the project.

“FOCUS is a very special project in IFAD’s portfolio in India and globally, as it is the first project that IFAD finances where jhum management is addressed in a holistic manner,” said Omar.

She said the project in Nagaland would intervene in 650 villages in eight districts – Mon, Longleng, Zunheboto, Wokha, Kiphire, Phek, Mokokchung and Kohima – and plans to reach 137, 000 households.

Accepting jhum system of cultivation as part of Naga culture, Omar said the aim of the project was to manage jhum sustainably, both in the cultivation and fallow stages, and that the project does not aim to replace or eliminate jhum.

“More productive and sustainable jhuming will be based on a judicious combination of modern scientific knowledge, agricultural technologies and practices in natural resource management as well as the traditional wisdom and adaptive practices of the upland communities,” said Omar.

She said the project would intervene to improve the productivity across the farming system, adding that it should enable 137,000 farmers to double their incomes by the end of the project.

Omar said IFAD loan of 40.25 million USD and a grant of 0.55 million USD contributes only 46% of the total project cost estimated at 89 million USD. 

In this regard, she said the success of the project relies on excellent collaboration among line departments and convergence with the CSS of the agri and allied sector as well as with the schemes of the rural development department particularly MGNREGA. 

Omar said timely release of funds to the project as per its annual work plan and budget was one of the factors for the project’s success.

She expressed gratitude to the government of Nagaland for choosing IFAD as its partner for its first externally aided load funded project for agriculture.

Further, Omar hoped that IFAD and government of Nagaland would continue to remain partners to build on achievements of the FOCUS project in the state and to promote the practices in northeast region and in similar agro-ecologies where jhum is practiced in Society East Asia.

Highlighting the gathering on the scope of convergence with agri allied sectors, APC & mission director, FOCUS, T Imkonglemba Ao, said the total project cost 90.06 million USD (612.42 Cr INR) out of which IFAD has loaned 40.25 million USD ( Rs. 273.70 Cr) and 0.55 million USD (Rs 3.74 Cr) as grant.

He said government of Nagaland would fund 17.42 million USD (Rs 118.47 Cr); parallel financing from CSS 13.26 million USD (Rs. 90.17 CR); government of Nagaland contribution to CSSs 1.55 million USD (Rs. 10.53 Cr); beneficiaries 3.90 million USD (Rs. 26.49 Cr) and convergence 13.13 million USD (Rs. 89.32 Cr).

Ao said government of Nagaland was expected to mobilise a total sum of 45.36 million USD (Rs 308.45 Cr) from its counterpart funds, parallel finance (CSSs), contribution to CSSs and convergence. 

He also deliberated on Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER) and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AH&VS); Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as means of convergence.

At the programme, SPD FOCUS Nagaland, Angelina Tajen, gave highlights of the project FOCUS; a farmer spoke on behalf of farmers in Nagaland and DABA associate Pastor, Imnatoshi Longkumer prayed for the project.

The chief minister was accompanied by advisor for power, Tovihoto Ayemi and advisor for horticulture, Mhathung Yanthan.


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