Make agriculture sustainable in NE: Handique

DIMAPUR, Dec 16 – The Minister for Development of the Northeastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique today called upon the policy planners and farmers of North East to adopt fusion of traditional practices and modern technologies to make agriculture sustainable in the region.

Handique pointed out that the agricultural practices continued in the region basing on knowledge and wisdom of various communities did not pose any threat to biodiversity conservation contrary to popular believe but the problem only occured with the advent of modernity and increase of population to make the agricultural practices sustainable.

Inaugurating the five-day 2nd NE Agri Expo here, the DoNER Minister reaffirmed the imperatives of continuity of agro-forestry practiced by various communities in the Northeastern region in the context of global warming and climate change.

He asserted that devaluing this traditional mode of agricultural practice was no more an useful attitude in the context of increasing concern for biodiversity conservation and climate change.

“What is needed now is a proper fusion of tradition and modernity to make agriculture sustainable in the region since the people in NE will continue to depend on land and its resources in years to come,” the Minister said, informing that Barapani (Shillong) centre of ICAR successfully developed two paddy varities for jhum cultivation which would produce 2.2 tonne per hectare compared to less than one tone produced by traditional varieties.

He also informed that DoNER Ministry and Railways are coordinating for ensuring compulsory package van for agricultural produces in all express passenger trains in NE region for intra-region movement.

“Increasing intra-regional air connectivity has also been agitating our mind and I hope that very soon some solution would emerge,” Handique said.

He also equally laid emphasis on post harvest technology, market linkages, remunerative prices to farmers for their produces.

Earlier welcoming the gathering, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphu Rio said Nagaland envisaged a vision to make the State a surplus one in agriculture and allied sectors by 2020. He said although Nagaland wanted to make the agri expo a biennial event due to resource constraint the second expo could be arranged only this year after the first one in 2006.

He thanked various Central Ministries, particularly the DoNER Minister for making all assistance towards the State for arranging the second NE expo at 4th area of Dimapur, a permanent venue for the event.

The five day expo was being organised by the Nagaland Government in partnership with FICCI with sponsorship from Ministries of Agriculture and DoNER. All the eight NE States, neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, various universities, institutions under ICAR and Central Ministries are participating in the expo.

A series of seminars, conferences, buyer-seller meets, investor meets, are being held in the next five days here.