Kohima: In a bid to uplift and promote agro-based farmers of the state, and make Nagaland an organic state, an ‘outreach cum buyer-seller meet on organic food production in Northeast’ was organised at Hotel Japfu in Kohima on Tuesday.
“To facilitate stronger marketing access under the ownership of growers’ organisation, the government of Nagaland has registered the brand as ‘Naga Organic’,” said state minister of agriculture & corporation G Kaito Aye, adding, “The Fruit Producer Organisation (FPO) and entrepreneurs under the mission have started selling their produces and products under this brand.”
Highlighting the complexities of facilitating market accessibility for local produces, Aye said that there is “lack of market information and linkages with buyers, lack of storage and cold chain facilities, high cost of third party organic certification which has to be borne by the farmers after the completion of government’s sponsored programme, high cost of transportation from farm to collection centers and to the market due to hilly terrain, lack of air cargo facility and other logistics in most of the airports in Northeast region except Guwahati particularly for the export of fresh vegetables, fruits and floriculture, lack of processing and packaging facilities are yet to be streamlined”.
“However, the government is taking up measures to tackle the issues that are prevailing to explore the prospects of organic food production in the state,” he added.
The advisor of the horticulture department, Mhathung Yanthan, said that as the entire Northeast is looking towards organic farming for transforming the economy, Nagaland is in its final stage of introducing the ‘Nagaland State Organic Policy’.
“I believe it will be able to guide us in transforming our state’s ‘organic by default’ into an ‘organic by design’ hub,” said Yanthan.
Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) report said that Yanthan was optimist that the discussions and interactions between the different stakeholders will generate new ideas and tangible recommendations for the farmers and organic producers so that the issue of marketing organic produces can be tackled effectively.
He then recommended all stakeholders — the sellers, the buyers and the policy makers to come together and chalk out a comprehensive plan to take the way forward.
Principal secretary, Horticulture, MK Mero emphasised on creating more awareness to promote and practise organic farming and cultivation.
Regional director, Indian Chamber of Commerce, said, “Nagaland has the potential and resources to build up a well-organised producer as the topology and the landscape is strategically located, surrounded with international borders and have a high opportunity to export to our neighboring countries.” The regional director stressed that raw materials and organic products should be of international standard level with quality exportable products to compete with other countries in a competitive market.
Towards the end, Kaito Aye launched the ‘Naga Organic’ application on Google Play store developed by the agriculture and horticulture department in collaboration with the IT department which is designed and developed with the objective to facilitate the buyers and sellers (FPC/FPO) find their interest of produce products and a platform to the FPO (Farmer Producer Organisation)/FPC to directly get in touch with the buyer without involving any middle man. As on Wednesday, the App is rated 3+ with over 50 downloads.