A society can prosper once the farmers are rich, said Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

Inaugurating the air cargo services at Dimapur airport on Tuesday, Rio said air cargo service was a long-time desire of the State, without which a lot of farm produce go wasted.

He said the farm produce, especially the perishable products, should reach the cargo facility immediately and the farmers should get the maximum benefits.

Describing the introduction of the cargo services as a historic occasion, he lamented that the benefits due to the farmers do not reach them.

“I was heart-broken when I visited a kiwi farm in the state. I found that all the fruits in the farm were wasted as there was no buyer,” he stated.

Rio said Nagaland is very rich in biodiversity and has the potential to produce a wide range of farm products like organic fruits, vegetables, spices and exotic flowers.

He said the farmers of the state, especially the youth, can produce high-value organic vegetables and fruits.

“When you produce more, there will be more demand,” he said.

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He hoped that the farmers and entrepreneurs will take the air cargo services very seriously and not stick to demonstration of their produce only.

Stressing on maintaining the supply chain, Rio said all the perishable and non-perishable products of the farmers should reach all the metros where there is demand.

He challenged the farmers and the entrepreneurs to bring the supply chain into a system.

He also called for converting the fruits to juices and wine to draw maximum benefits.

Urging the farmers to maintain quality, he asked the horticulture department should help in post-harvest management.

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Rio also urged the farmers to sale their produce at market rate and not seek high price.

Adviser to horticulture and border affairs Mhathung Yanthan said opening of the cargo service will have a cascading effect on the economy and agro-horti products of the state.

He urged all the stakeholders to make best use of the facility

Regional executive director, Airport Authority of India (AAI), North East Region, M Suresh, in his keynote address, said the cargo operation, which was approve on February 22, will have special impact on the economy of Nagaland.

He said the AAI plans to open new cargo set up with modern facilities at Dimapur airport. In this regard, Suresh urged Rio to allot to allot land for additional terminal building.

Director, horticulture, Dr Elithung Lotha called for setting up a regulatory body to market the farm produce.

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He said two metric tons of the farm produce of the state will be transported through the air cargo service to different parts of the country through Air India and Indigo flights on a regular basis, depending on the supply and demand.

Lotha said the first consignment on Tuesday would be sent to Delhi.

The programme was organized by the Nagaland horticulture department in partnership with AAI, Dimapur.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com