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Follow Nagaland's example for food security, NE urged

Guwahati, February 10 (IANS): Northeastern states must follow the example of Nagaland - the only food sufficient state in the region - and increase food production to ensure food security for all, Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary said Friday.
"The northeastern states are food deficient and we are producing 33 percent less food grain than what is required in the region. The northeastern states produce only 2.94 million tonnes food grain while the requirement is about 10 million tonnes," Mooshahary said at the Northeast Agri Fair 2012 organised by the Assam Agricultural University here.
"However, it is commendable that Nagaland, the tiny state in the region where 72 percent of the total landmass is hills, has attained sufficiency in terms of grains production. The other states of the region must take the example of Nagaland and take immediate steps to enhance their food production," said the governor.
The Nagaland government had given a major thrust to the agriculture sector to maintain self-sufficiency in food. The government has not only chalked out a "Vision 2020" plan to attain food security but also utilised the chief minister's corpus fund to distribute tractors and power tillers among farmers to ensure that they enhanced their production.
Mooshahary termed food security the most important issue at this moment, given that all the northeastern states are food deficient.
"While the farmers have to play the role of a 'soldier' for ensuring food security, the scientists and researchers working in the field of agriculture must assist them by transferring the technology from laboratory to the field," he said.
"It is not impossible to enhance food production in the states. If we go for two crops in a year and with the right kinds of technology, bigger states like Assam could alone ensure food security for all the states in the region," he said, noting that farmers in Assam and other parts of the region still follow old practices.
"In the northeast, we have problems like land acidity, hilly topography, excess rain, irrigation and others. Our farmers still use old seeds and there is no seed replacement... This affects productivity. There must be high yielding variety of seeds so that production increases," he said.

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