Nagaland should be made ”Kiwi State of India”: Tomar


New Delhi: Nagaland should be made ”Kiwi State of India” by making persistent efforts in research and training farmers to reap good returns from Kiwi production, Union Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday.

Tomar said his ministry is trying to provide handholding support to Kiwi farmers across the country in a bid to reduce the country”s dependence on imports in line with the call on ”Vocal for Local”.

Currently, India imports 4,000 tonnes of Kiwis from New Zealand, Italy and Chile, while the domestic production is about 13,000 tonnes.

Addressing a virtual meeting organised by the Nagaland government, the Union agriculture minister said, “A new chapter is being introduced in the agricultural history of Nagaland which will be highly beneficial to the Kiwi farmers of the state. This programme of Kiwi production enhancement will prove to be a milestone in the years to come.”

The central government is working closely with the state government and especially the Central Institute of Horticulture, Nagaland, in capacity building of farmers in production as well as packaging of kiwi products, he said in a statement.

This is being done as the Centre understands problems faced by farmers in the northeastern region in getting good planting material, productivity issues, lack of packaging facilities and marketing networks for farmers, he added.

Tomar further said the Centre is also ensuring that farmers are connected to the market, so that they can get a fair price for their produce.

The research institute in Nagaland has also conducted training and exposure visits of farmers from the Phek district of Nagaland for helping them understand how to reap good returns through the Kiwi production, he said.

“The persistent efforts should be made by all to ensure that Nagaland can emerge as the ”Kiwi State of India”,” he noted.

To boost kiwi production, the minister said the Himalayan climate is suitable for kiwi production and there is a need to introduce high-yielding varieties.

With extensive research and development support, the commercial cultivation of kiwi fruit has been extended from the sub-Himalayan regions of India to the mid-hills of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Nilgiri Hills.

Currently, India is producing 13,000 tonnes of kiwi in an area of about 4,000 hectare in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Tomar also observed that the entire northeastern region is lagging behind due to difficult terrain and all ministries, including the agriculture ministry, are working towards ensuring a progressive North East.

He said that this lag needs to be removed and can only be done through a comprehensive vision along with stable policy planning and balanced growth across the region as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI