Kohima: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday, through an initiative of the Land Resources Department (LRD), distributed 50 coffee pulping machines to coffee growers in Kohima district.

The project has been funded by the North east Council (NEC).

During a short ceremony held at Solidarity Park in Kohima, Rio urged the coffee farmers to judiciously utilise the machines provided to them. Appreciating how local farmers are taking interest to grow coffee, Rio said that there is “huge potential” and a big market across the globe to trade coffee products.

Recalling how the Coffee Board that encouraged coffee plantation in the state in the 1980s was a failure, he said that after a gap of over 30 years, farmers in the state are rekindling their interest in growing coffee. Although Nagaland coffee is now being exported to South Africa and Dubai, he stressed on the need to export more finished coffee products in order to generate more revenue.

The CM advised the LRD to train and educate the farmers about coffee plantation, management, provide refresher courses, and also provide good coffee seedlings to the farmers. He said that through the CM Corpus Fund, coffee machines will be distributed to every district and sub divisions so that the coffee growers can set up coffee shops and be self sustained. While efforts are made to promote the local coffee, Rio urged the farmers to also get used to smell and taste of coffee in order to be more aware of the products that they will be trading.

Rio also encouraged the farmers to form a society (syndicate) where the trade of coffee can be systematically regulated, supplied and channeled through one source. He suggested the formation of such a society that can also look into the welfare and rights of the farmers.

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Saying that Nagaland has no resources for its own revenue generation, the chief minister said that the coffee growers can contribute towards the growth of the local economy and help in building a self-reliant society.

Dr Menuosietuo Tseikha, District Project Officer, Land Resources Development, said that currently there are 1,886 coffee growers in Kohima district with 45,00,800 coffee seeds being planted. He said that coffee plantation of 109 farmers in the district has been bearing fruits and around 5,680 kg of coffee is produced within the district. It may be noted that coffee plantation in the state was taken again up in 2014.

Farmers with coffee pulping machines

Tseikha hoped that the distribution of the pulping machines to the coffee growers will add value to the outcome of the produces. He clarified that the coffee pulping machines that were distributed came in two sizes—the bigger machines for groups and the smaller machines for individuals.

Encouraging the farmers to make maximum utilization of the machines, he also urged them to help one another, and share their knowledge to the locals in the community.

Rokovizo Senotsu from the Angami Area Coffee growers shared how he began coffee plantation in 2016 with the help of the department where he received free coffee saplings. He said that over the years, the plantation has expanded and has started to bear fruits.

He shared about the challenges faced by the coffee growers, especially during the dry season when farmers are faced with scarcity of water, jungle burning and grazing of cows in the coffee farms.

Like him, Kenneth Kath from the Rengma Area Coffee Growers, shared how he began coffee plantation in 2014, doing away with traditional farming. He said that at present, Tsemenyi subdivision has around 400 acres of coffee plantation with around 4.5 lakh saplings being planted.

With the assistance provided to the coffee growers, he assured that the farmers will continue with their efforts and contribute towards sustainable farming.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Land Resources Department also distributed rubber roller machines to 65 beneficiaries and coffee pulping machines to 25 beneficiaries in Dimapur.

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