SY Lotha at his farm in Chukitong town under Wokha district on July 14. (Morung Photo)
Morung Express News
Dimapur | July 18
SY Lotha, in his mid 50s, is another person who has aggressively taken up farming activities during the lockdown period. He hopes to attract the younger generation towards farming in order to be self sufficient instead of depending on imported produce.
A resident of Wokha town, SY Lotha, who is from Tsungiki village moved his family to their farm at Chukitong town (14 km approx from Wokha) in June and has since been engaged in farming activities.
“With God-given fertile land and soil, we must go back to farming for self sufficiency and teach the young ones on the importance of farming which needs hard labour. If we do not teach them now, the young people are going to forget the culture of work and eat,” he told The Morung Express at his farm earlier this week.
Lotha is taking up integrated farming so that there would not be any gaps in between farming activity, yielding and harvesting.
“Throughout the year, there is some kind of work whether it is sowing or harvesting and that is why besides the normal cash crops I have also dug several fish ponds, rearing pigs, poultry, planting fruits like pears, guava, pineapple, pomegranate, passion fruit etc,” he added.
Among others, cash crops like brinjal, chilly, tomato, beans, stinky beans (yongchak), pumpkin, cucumber, groundnut and many more are being cultivated in his farm.
Every day, he teaches his children the techniques of farming. Some days he shows them how to tend particular crops while on other’s he shows them the ropes of managing the fishery or piggery. He also takes pride in not shooting any birds that visit his farm.
Wearing a western hat for protection from the sun, the spade and machete wielding man yodels up and down while working about in his farm. “Our forefathers used to work this way yodelling from time to time to derive energy and keep the working mood alive,” he said, breaking into a yodel again.
His wife also shares equal enthusiasm in farming and together they are currently cultivating more than 2 hectares of land with only two hired workers.
Daytime is not the only working time for him but when dusk sets in, he again ventures into the farm and nearby jungle to catch frogs, crabs and other edible insects to add a bit of variety to their diet. “Most of what we eat on a daily basis is all organic. When we can produce so much of what we eat on daily basis, we should not depend on imported produces but we should get back to farming,” he said.
Lotha said that the Naga people should do away with the mentality of expecting the government to do everything for them starting from providing saplings till harvest. “Almost everyone is availing schemes just to get subsidy and thinks they are fooling the government but actually fooling themselves,” he put across.
Lotha encouraged the younger generation to develop an interest in farming besides their academic pursuit and most importantly to work and eat. “I use to invite young people to come to my farm and spend some days so that they also get to learn something and practise the same when they get home even if it is a kitchen garden. We can all start with small tiny steps and not take a big leap only to fail eventually,” he added.
Lotha said he had invested some few lakhs in his farm without seeking any financial assistance from the government and had also financially contributed towards the village authorities for building of approach road and bringing in electricity in the farm.