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Nagaland home to 2,431 plant species, says Minister
Correspondent
 DIMAPUR, July 21 - Nagaland is home to approximately 2,431 plant species belonging to 963 genera and 186 families, half of which is believed to have medicinal and other economic values.

This was stated by Nagaland Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change CM Chang at the advocacy and publicity workshop on minimum support price for minor forest produce scheme jointly conducted by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Department of Underdeveloped Areas (DUDA), Nagaland, in Kohima on Friday, an official release said on Saturday.

Nagaland being blessed with rich biodiversity, it is one among the biodiversity hotspots of the country, he stated.

With the introduction and implementation of the Van Dhan Scheme in Nagaland, Chang hoped that the department of DUDA and TRIFED would take up the scheme to the doorsteps of the farmers who have now taken up cultivation of medicinal plants as a source of livelihood and also to supplement their income.

“In-situ conservation of the rich genetic resources of the minor forest produces (MFPs) of the State should be encouraged and Ex-situ cultivation of the important medicinal plant species and other minor forest produces should be promoted so that the rich biological resource is conserved at the same time,” Chang said.

Advisor to DUDA, N Bongkhao Konyak, said the main objective of the department is to implement people-centric developmental programmes for Eastern Nagaland region.

The people of Eastern Nagaland have been demanding separate “Frontier Nagaland” State as they feel that they were being deprived on developmental fronts.

Konyak said the department is working tirelessly to bridge the gap with regard to economic and livelihood opportunities and bring the backward region at par with the rest of the State.

He stated that the department had made enormous strides and successfully created infrastructure and provided livelihood solutions in ensuring sustainable growth in the eastern region since its inception in 2003.

With 337 villages in Eastern Nagaland coupled with the lack of proper road and basic infrastructure in place, he said, it is still an uphill task for the department to successfully impact the region. Moreover, with the lack of air and rail connectivity, he said all raw materials have to be transported to commercial hubs of the region as far as from Dimapur resulting in high cost for development, he said.

TRIFED managing director and DUDA principal secretary L Kire, expressed concern about the operational guidelines and requirements of the schemes as geographical area and biological environment varies from State to State. He has suggested taking into consideration those requirements while framing the guidelines and policies of the schemes.

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