Nagaland spent around Rs 650 crore during last year for import of livestock for meat consumption from outside the State, but those were mostly of sub-standard quality which indicated that there is a huge market for meat and allied products in the State.

This was stated by Secretary, Finance and Land Resources departments, Y Kikheto Sema while speaking at the silver jubilee celebration of Niuland Area Students’ Union hosted by Kuhoxu Kiphimi Küqhakulu on Friday.

Kikheto urged the educated unemployed youths to take up piggery, poultry, dairy and goat farming in hygienic ways to ensure quality meat was provided to the people and enable circulation of money within the local community.

He also encouraged students to explore taking up cultivation of cash crops like rubber, tea and coffee for economic progress as ‘Nagaland had huge potential to boost its economy and generate employment for young people through these means’.

Highlighting the potential of rubber plantation in Nagaland, Kikheto said out of 70 lakh standing trees, 16 lakh trees had already been harvested, yielding nearly Rs 103 crore in rural areas in 2016-17.

On tea plantation, he said it would not be feasible to set up tea factories in Nagaland as neighbouring Assam was the biggest tea growing State. He however opined that tea growers could send tea leaves in bulk to factories in Assam for processing in order to generate more income.

Sema said Nagaland’s coffee was considered one of the best in the world at present and added that, since production was low in African countries due to climatic changes, the State government had tied up with South African government for trading coffee for the next 30 years. Keeping in mind the huge potential, he said the Land Resources department had proposed to bring 50,000 hectares of land under coffee plantation, with 2,000 hectares in 2017-18.

Kikheto said this would provide employment opportunities to 4,000 persons per year at the rate of two persons per hectare. He pointed out that as coffee was harvested every four years, this would continue for 40 to 50 years and that taking up its plantation would thus ensure economic development for four to five decades.

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