Nagaland Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) presented many proposals at the 25th Regional Committee Meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
Nagaland Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC), Y Kikheto Sema, on Saturday while representing the State in the 25th Regional Committee Meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as forwarded for several proposals.
Attending the video conference, Kikheto commented that even after 59 years of Statehood, Nagaland has not achieved anything worth mentioning nationally or regionally in the State.
Laying several proposals before the committee meet which included College of Agriculture under Central Agriculture University, at State Agriculture Research Station Yisemyong, Mokokchung, Regional Centre for Soil and Water Conservation at State Soil and Water Conservation Training Research and Demonstration Institute at Sechu, Zubza, Kohima, Kikheto also highlighted the need for Regional Livestock Centre on pigs at Zunheboto and establishment of an Organic Hub with quality control facilities.
He also urged the gatherings about adopting the Naga Model of Integrated Settled Farming, besides proposing Krishi Vigyan Kendra for the new district of Noklak.
The meeting saw Dr T Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR, chairing the programme which was attended by the senior Indian government officials, Vice Chancellors, heads of ICAR institutions, scientists and officers of Agriculture and Allied Departments of the North-East Region (NER).
He also made an appeal to consider the proposals for College of Agriculture under Central Agriculture University (CAU) at State Agriculture Research Station (SARS), Yisemyong, Mokokchung.
Stating that about 70 percent of the State’s population is engaged in agriculture, out of which 73 percent is under jhum agriculture, which is neither economically viable nor ecologically sustainable, Kikheto, however, admitted that it cannot stop the jhum cultivation and hence there is a need of College of Agriculture specializing in “Upland or Hill agriculture technologies” which would benefit not only Nagaland but the entire hill region of “United States of NE India”.
The APC also spelled out the need to conserve soil and water and creation of water bodies like ponds, spring sheds, revival of springs, rain water harvesting, check dams.
Disclosing that after 58 years of Nagaland’s Statehood, the Union Government has recently sanctioned for Soil testing Labs (STLs) in all the 11 districts and Mini STLs in all the 74 blocks of the State, Kikheto therefore proposed for a Regional Centre for Soil and Water Conservation to be established at Sechu-Zubza where the Soil and water Conservation Research and Training Centre having sufficient area of 21 hectares and by this intervention, it would provide a platform to conduct basic and applied research in the field of soil and water conservation in the northeast region.
Regional Livestock Centre on pigs at Zunheboto
As the Nagas are mostly non-vegetarian and pork lovers, the requirement being met through imports from other states has been estimated at about Rs. 1,000 crores which are imported annually to meet the local requirement.
Therefore, Kikheto made a proposal for Regional Livestock Centre on pigs at Zunheboto district, which according to him is centrally located in the State where pig feeds could be easily procured and processed even from nearby districts also.
Establishment of an Organic Hub with quality control facilities
“The State is by and large organic by default”, said the APC, however, he added that there are no institutes established to facilitate and screen for the quality parameters including certification body.
He said that the normal organic certification process takes three years and the jhum fields remain productive only for two years during which most of the vegetables are produced for which the possibility of certifying as organic after two years was also proposed.
Naga Integrated Settled Farming (NiSF)
Kikheto also urged the August House about adopting the Naga Model of Integrated Settled Farming and urged for adopting the NiSF by all the Agri and Allied departments in a cluster mode.
He said the most important factor under this model is the availability of water and the components includes agriculture, horticulture, plantation crops, livestock, fisheries, sericulture, post- processing plants, farm roads, power connectivity etc, forming into an economic or business hub, where the educated unemployed could also gainfully participate, ultimately turning into an Agro-eco tourism.
He informed that already this model is being implemented at Boke-Botsa under Kohima district as a pilot project and if Government of India promotes this model, jhum areas could be reduced and forest protected, thereby increasing ecological services.
Kikheto also said that most of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes and policies are designed for the mainland India as one-size-fits-all programmes, therefore, the policy makers and scientist should also focus on NER specific schemes and added that even there is much variation in cost norms for hilly regions because of the topographical challenges.
He also proposed for a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) for the new district of Noklak and further assured that the States’ Agri and Allied departments would continue to closely work with ICAR and KVKs for the benefit of the farming community.