Food for All: Vision with Work
The objectives of the ‘Vision 2025: Food for all’, which was released by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently, has all the right ingredient for a State like Nagaland where our comparative advantage lies in the abundance of land resource and social capital. One need not repeat what has already been mentioned in the Vision 2025 document. It’s good to have a vision for the future and draw up a road map towards this end. But not all vision can come true, especially if we do not work for it. Therefore whatever grand design we may have, unless we have a similar design for hard work we are not going to be able to fulfill this vision. So we have accomplished the easy part—of writing down our Vision 2025. Now we must work for that vision—which is the difficult part.
In the past also we have had grand expos, plan of action drawn up, MoUs signed etc. Then we have had Central Ministries, institutions such as Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), agricultural universities and private sectors expressing interest to explore our Agro potential. But somehow things have not taken off as expected. What seems to be lacking is appraisal and follow up exercise. Take for instance the series of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) the Government of Nagaland has signed with a number of agencies in the last three to five years. Whether such initiatives have borne result, perhaps the government will know better.
The farming sector is very much an industry and for a State like Nagaland, this sector remains untapped of its full potential. For this, everyone must pool in their contribution—government, farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs. The other thing that we have to factor in is that our Naga farmers produce for the family and not for the demands of a market economy. Therefore, government should also educate our farmers to change their mindset and also the manner in which they cultivate. The government should also empower and assist the real farmers who are seriously engaged in the field and not just your usual contractors, politician or party workers.
Hopefully the Vision 2025: Food For All will come out with concrete guidelines and practical suggestions so as to improve programme implementation and the delivery of services. Policy design and measures is one thing but implementing them on the ground will require even greater effort and proper monitoring and direction. All of us right from the top policy makers down to the farming community will be hopefully aware of the flaws within the system. Any number of innovation or approaches will not produce the desired result unless correction is made on the way our government functions. In a majority of cases, our farmers are not benefiting. Even the funds allocated for our farmers are siphoned off. While the government should ensure proper utilization of funds, it will also require strict monitoring of projects.
Result oriented (good) governance is the need of the hour if we are to make real progress on the ground. A corrupt-outdated government system and an indolent public could well explain the disturbing fact about Nagaland that in spite of 80% of the population in the State being agrarians, the state could not produce enough food grains and we continue to depend on others. The point is that good policy and planning alone will not do. The flaws within the system and the attitude of the people will also require correction if we want to see output from our all important Vision 2025 document.
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