Sunday, August 14, 2022

Nagaland has huge potential in horti exports: Tomar

Staff Reporter

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said Nagaland had huge potential in horticulture exports as the State was rich in the sector.
Speaking at the inauguration of a farmers’ exhibition-cum-workshop at Central Institute of Horticulture (CIH), Medziphema on Sunday, he said the presence of six agro-climatic zones with vast geographical variations in Nagaland in particular and the Northeast in general provided great scope and advantage for growing varieties of horticultural crops compared to other States.
Tomar, who is on a two-day visit to the State, remarked that Nagaland had great potential for export of horticultural produce due to its proximity to South-East Asian countries. Hence, he stressed on maintaining global quality standards and increasing productivity, adding that in doing so, the farmers would get good price and their financial condition would improve, while the agriculture would contribute more to the country’s GDP.
Noting that everyone was making efforts together to provide new technology to farmers at low cost, he appreciated the efforts of CIH and the State government in this direction. He also lauded the efforts of the institute in improving the horticulture sector in Nagaland and the State government for doing the needful in this regard.
The minister claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given importance to agriculture to increase farmers’ income, while exhorting the farmers to incorporate modern technology to derive the benefits from the research done by agricultural scientists. He also claimed that the Prime Minister was working to ensure that the State governments received adequate funds for agriculture, stressing that technology should reach farmers through CIH.
Hoping that farmers of the Northeast would bring about a new revolution in horticulture, he admitted that the region had been a victim of neglect for a long time and, due to its remoteness, benefits of various schemes did not reach here properly. “But, after Modi ji became the Prime Minister, the region has been receiving constant attention and funds were being released for development,” he added.
He cited Modi’s multiple visits to the region as a proof of his seriousness in its development, besides his deputation of Central ministers every few months. Tomar assured that CIH would not be shifted out of Nagaland anywhere and that the Centre would provide adequate funds for its improvement. Meanwhile, the minister also released the extension folders published by CIH on the occasion besides launching the ready to serve (RTS) juice of Litchi, Mango, Lemon, Strawberry & Pineapple made by NG Baio, founder of Hills Foods from Senapati, Manipur.
In his speech, horticulture & border affairs adviser Mhathung Yanthan expressed gratitude on behalf of the State to Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) for its continued support towards the welfare of farmers by launching various programmes/schemes.
He said climate change had posed a huge challenge to farming practices, thereby imperilling food security worldwide. Therefore, he called for understanding the impacts of climate change and try to draft strategies to mitigate the same through adaptation to minimise effects on crops and cropping system.
Backing Tomar’s observation, Yanthan too remarked that Nagaland had huge potential in horticulture crops like pineapple, orange, cucumber, passion fruit, dragon fruit, kiwi, banana, large cardamom, ginger, etc.
Informing the gathering of the various initiatives undertaken by the Department of Horticulture, he said the State now had three crops now had Geographical Indication (GI) – Naga tree tomato, Naga mirchi and Naga cucumber.
As there were about 30 GI registered crops in the Northeast alone, he requested MoA&FW to promote the region’s unique crops for marketing not only within the country but also outside in order to create avenues for local farmers and young entrepreneurs.
Expressing displeasure over reports of merger of CIH with National Horticulture Board, the adviser feared that if it was merged, the very purpose and objective of setting up the institute would get diluted. He recalled that the State government provided land for the institute and infrastructure was developed, all of which had accrued benefits to the State. He thus requested for a review, adding that the issue had also been taken up by the State government with the Central government.
Agriculture minister Kaito Aye, Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare’s (DA&FW) additional commissioner Dr NK Patle, Central Agricultural University vice-chancellor Dr Anupam Mishra, DA&FW’s horticulture commissioner Dr Prabhal Kimar, agriculture production commissioner Y Kikheto Sema, other senior officials from the departments of agriculture and horticulture and farmers attended the programme.
Tomar also visited ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun, Pineapple Farm at Molvom village under MoVCD- NER and ICAR, Jharnapani Centre, besides attending the foundation stone laying ceremony of administrative building of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dimapur.
During his visit to ICAR, Tomar stressed on the need to conduct further research on the use of Mithun for the benefit of farmers. He urged the institute to take up research to explore the nutritional and therapeutic properties of milk and develop a business model and also to explore fertilizing capacity of Mithun dung and urine to adopt natural farming. He also visited the Mithun farm and exhibition stalls displaying various technologies and products developed by the institute.
On Monday, he will visit Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency, Nagaland Honey & Bee Keeping Mission where he will also inaugurate Honey Laboratory and organic AC market at North East Agri Expo, besides attending an official function at Angh House, Agri Expo before his departure for Delhi.


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