DIMAPUR, Nov 6 – Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has regretted that despite being an agrarian State with over 80 per cent of the population involved in farming, the State has not been able to achieve self-sufficiency in the agri and allied sector.
Speaking as the chief guest at the inauguration of the newly constructed building of the Horticulture Directorate at New Capital Complex in Kohima yesterday, Rio said though about 80 per cent people are engaged in agriculture the production is only 24 per cent of the State Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, he maintained that if Nagas want to move ahead “we have to improve the method and system of cultivation by using high grade seeds, modern technologies and produce more.”
He said the present requirement of food grains in the State is 5.40 MT but the production is hardly 3.67 MT, adding the shortfall of 1.73 MT is imported.
Stressing on the Vision 2020 – Food for All and Food Sufficiency Policy of the Government, he said with the population growth at the rate of 5 per cent Nagaland would have over 50 lakh population by 2020. So Nagas should be able to produce food grains proportionate to the growth of population, he stated.
The Chief Minister challenged the agri and allied sector to coordinate and work towards producing sufficient food products. He also maintained that the land in the State is fertile and Agri and allied departments should work in coordination with the Agriculture Production Commission for improvement of production.
He also suggested that the department should identify the crops and the area for production so as to concentrate on particular crops in the respective areas.
Rio challenged the department to do something which can carry the identity and character of Nagas and opined that increased production of Naga King chillie would be a step towards it.
Remarking that the Government has to spend crores of rupees in purchasing seeds, he said it is high time that seeds are produced within the State for timely distribution to the farmers.
He also said that even as Nagas have been fighting for sovereignty, Nagas will be in shame if self-sufficiency is not attained.
Rio further said that the inauguration of the new building should be a reminder for all to work harder in order to achieve the target of Food for All under Vision 2020 and to uplift the economy of the people of the State.
Dwelling on quality control, he said the State Government is seriously considering constituting a quality control board, saying if there is no quality control, it will only become a liability instead of being an asset.