Addressing an outreach-cum-buyer-seller meet on organic food production in the Northeast organized by Indian Chamber Commerce (ICC) at hotel Japfu here Tuesday and commenting on the current status standing of soil nutrient content in Nagaland, the minister said the organic carbon content as per National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use planning (NBSSLUP), Nagpur was 0.75-3.00%, making the products “organic by default”.
He also declared that cold storage facilities would be commissioned by March next year to confirm that the produce of farmers end lost. Towards this finish, he appealed to Interstate Commerce Commission and industrialists to look at Nagaland beyond the traditional agricultural sector, adding that the state government was also attempting its best to march at the side of other progressive States.
Aye declared that the PDA government was putting all its effort in making Nagaland an organic State, adding that to facilitate stronger marketing access under the ownership of growers’ organisation, the govt. had registered the brand as “Naga Organic”.
He, however, regretted that there was lack of market data and linkages with consumers, storage and cold chain facilities, high cost of third party organic certification, high price of transportation from farm to assortment centres and markets due to hilly terrain, lack of air cargo facility and other logistics in most airports of the Northeast, except Guwahati, particularly for export of fresh vegetables and fruits, lack of processing and packaging facilities.
Nevertheless, the minister claimed that the State government was taking all measures to tackle the related issues and assured all support to explore the prospects of organic food production in the State.
He urged ICC, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and buyers and investors to continue supporting and promoting farmers in the State.
Later, the minister also launched Naga Organic app developed by the State’s agriculture and horticulture department in collaboration with IT department.
In his speech, horticulture adviser Mhathung Yanthan said the State government was giving final shape to the “Nagaland State Organic Policy”, which would be able to guide the farmers in transforming the State into an “organic hub by design” from “organic by default”.
Towards this end, he said the government had been meeting key stakeholders to try and define a strategy that would both enhance and promote organic produce.
He said the government was also working together with all stakeholders to launch a local organic brand and meet requirements for organic agricultural produce in the State and align them as much as possible with the requirements of the importing countries.
Yanthan exuded confidence that the discussions and interactions of the event between the different stakeholders would generate new ideas and tangible recommendations for the farmers and organic producers so that the issue of marketing their organic produce could be tackled effectively.
He said the kind of bridge built at the meet would determine the future of organic farming not only in the Northeast, but also in the country as a whole.
Horticulture principal secretary MK Mero also spoke at the function, while APEDA official Dr AK Yadav highlighted the activities of the organisation.
Senior government officials, investors, buyers and sellers from different States attended the programme where ICC regional director Ishantor Sobhapandit delivered the welcome address.