In a bid to generate employment and to stop unscientific farming, Nagaland has decided to undertake a mega coffee cultivation drive.
The state Agriculture department has planned to expand its farming to 50,000 hectares by 2030 from the existing 10,000 hectares.
Agriculture Production Commissioner Y. Kikheto Sema said on Friday said that the hills of Nagaland are now growing organic coffee, which is not only being sold locally but exported to the international markets.
Sema said that coffee was introduced to the farmers of Nagaland in the 1980s but lack of market linkages and other factors forced the farmers to give up the cultivation.
The Land Resources Department headed by Sema in 2016 again decided to revive coffee cultivation and learn about the new varieties of coffee seeds, how to plant and grow them in the cool and hilly climate of Nagaland.
“Nagaland currently cultivates coffee in nearly 10,000 hectares of land and it is taking steps to expand it to 50,000 hectares by 2030. The land resource department has exported 27.5 metric tonnes of coffee to a South African company, which earlier signed an agreement to buy Nagaland coffee for 30 years,” he said.
“Our aim is to generate at least one lakh jobs as Nagaland lacks industrial activities. Another aim is to prevent the impact of climate change by encouraging farmers to give up (slash and burn method of farming) cultivation and switch over to coffee,” Sema said.
Nagaland Chief Secretary J. Alam accompanied by Sema and other officials on Thursday visited KAAS Coffee farm at Sendenyu village in Kohima.
Chief Secretary Alam said that the government could not focus on many developmental activities during the Covid-19 pandemic but learned how much the state is dependent on the outside world and how much requirement is there for the state to be self-dependent in terms of economic needs.
Alam stressed that the government employment has reached its saturation point, therefore the youths have to find and invest in other avenues, and coffee being a very promising crop, he urged the youths to take up these kinds of activities which are labour intensive and provide sustainable income, an official statement said.
“Potential has always been there, and we are blessed with very fertile land and huge resources. For the last decades we have been experimenting in different land-based activities for viable crops, unfortunately, it failed because substantial activities were not taken into consideration,” Alam said.
The Kebentsin Agri and Allied Cooperative Society (KAAS) coffee farm at Sendenyu village was started in 2015 on 25-26 hectares of land.
The total number of coffee plants within the farm at present is around 80,000.