Integrated strawberry farming leads to new dawn for Nagaland youths

Peren (Nagaland): Entrepreneurship development in the northeast region is progressing as many start-ups and grassroots level entrepreneurs are venturing into new business ideas and initiatives.

One such story is about two women entrepreneurs from Nagaland, who have kick-started a farming venture which is encouraging and paving way for young students in Nagaland, who can think of adopting farm ventures as their future career.

Enthroned with a rich green cover, biodiversity, and amicable agro-climatic conditions, Nagaland is home to the production of many organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Thanks to its fertile soil, the state possesses a high potential to grow seasonal and off seasonal agricultural crops.

With the development of entrepreneurship in the Northeast region with a venture into new business initiatives, two Naga women entrepreneurs embarked on a farming endeavor in Nagaland.

Comprehending the state of friendly climate and fertile soil in the state, Lopilo along with her business partner Yamna Matchen thought of making the best use of the fertile valley of Punglwa village in Nagaland’s Peren district.

The two women set up an integrated farm to supply fresh organic and healthy vegetables. Today, the farm is yielding fruits and is teaching young students about the importance of organic farming.

“We are getting an order of saplings from Manipur, Patna. We send our products to Assam, Jorhat, Kohima, Wokha. And I encourage the young people of Nagaland to take up this venture and to produce something organic,” said Lopilo, Proprietor, Teshora Integrated Farm.

Last year around July, the strawberry farm at Gaili village in Peren district of Nagaland was launched. It has started getting returns of Rs 10 lakh out of the Rs 20 lakh invested, in just a span of about nine months.

Strawberries are packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They are low-calorie, fiber-rich and abundant in antioxidants and polyphenols.

The farm meanwhile became a hot spot for students out on educational tours to learn the importance of organic farming. The Teshora Strawberry farm at Peren, had students from Livingstone Foundation Hr. Secondary School recently on their field visit.

“I am here at the farm for the first time. It is a good experience for me. It takes a lot of hard work to grow strawberries. This is a good experience for me,” said a student.

“We are in the strawberry farm and experiencing a lot as this is part of the education. We are privileged to be here. It is an opportunity for the youth as well,” said another student.

Lopilo’s farm is laying emphasis on imparting import-export training to local farmers and youths so that they take up improved and scientific method of farming in the future. She also believes that organic farming can bring employment to educated unemployed youth.

At present, the farm spread over 35 acres of land, employs 35 workers including local women farmers, unemployed youth who are engaged in farming, producing, manufacturing and exporting the products.
Along with the boost to the entrepreneurial skills, initiatives like this will also bolster agriculture and add up to the state’s economy.