Entrepreneurs Associates CEO Neichute Doulo (centre) along with other members in Kohima Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Entrepreneurs Associates (EA), a leading NGO based in Nagaland, is all set to launch ‘Trees for Wealth’, a movement to plant not just trees but fruit trees in the state and make it the ‘fruit hub of India.’

The movement will be launched on Friday evening at Hotel Vivor in Kohima, informed Neichute Doulo, CEO of EA, at a press conference on Thursday. Doulo added that the initiative is an attempt towards promoting rural economy, besides making a contribution in tackling climate change.

Native fruits like persimmon, walnut, chestnut, hazelnut, pears, peach, guava, lemon, avocado, plums, Naga apple and so on, will be grown in a large scale by local farmers. Farmers, through this movement, will also be trained to produce and commercialise their goods.

Why fruit trees and not just trees?

Based on the experiments of the EA since 2006, farmers zealously planted and protected fruit trees from being felled as it became the ‘money tree’. In addition, Doulo added that although Nagaland’s temperate climate is capable of yielding native fruit trees, better species of the fruit saplings will be given to farmers in order to commercialise the produce not only in the local market but also at the regional market.

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Who will benefit from the movement?

Through the movement, 50 farmers each from 200 villages across all districts of the state will be supported — which totals to 10,000 farmers. As per its study conducted over the years, free saplings distributed to farmers produced lower success rate. Therefore, farmers will pay 50% sapling cost incentives to instill ownership for better success.

The good vision

It is envisioned that in five years’ time, 10,000 farmers, ensuring that each farmer plants 200-300 fruit trees, over 2 million fruit trees will be planted in the state.

Economically, it is estimated that one fruit tree will generate Rs 2,500 per annum on an average, thereby generating Rs 500,000 income annually. Cumulatively, Rs 500 crore annual income will flow in for 10,000 rural farm families in Nagaland by 2028.

While Nagaland’s fragmented land holdings have always been treated as a bane for development, these entrepreneurs hope that such agro-based forestry will inspire the youth to see opportunities in land-based economy within the state. It further envisions that by 2050, Nagaland will be planting 1 billion fruit trees.

Entrepreneurs Associates, since its inception in 2000, has been supporting first generation entrepreneurs (FGEs) and mediates through passionate commitment to nurture the entrepreneurial aspirations of individuals and communities. It won the “Social Entrepreneur of the year 2016” Award by Schwab foundation, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum.

Through its initiatives, the EA has created a strong street vending workforce in the state by uplifting women street vendors. It has also been advocating in schools to instill in young minds the need to utilise local resources and sustain on it.

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