For most Nagas, engaging in farming is mainly for sustenance – we consume what we grow. However, with substantial landholdings and suitable environmental conditions, The Entrepreneurs Associates (tEA) believes that promotion of Agri business as a livelihood opportunity will help in creating earning opportunities for farmers and youths in the state.

The first project of tEA in this sector, began in 2004 by engaging farmers in cultivating plums, potato and cabbage starting with Tsupfume and Zhavame village by providing Agri- loans and creating market linkages.

To push for farmers to grow high value crops at a commercial scale, tEA began promoting crops like Banana, edible Bamboo, Khasi Mandarin, Cardamon, Kiwi and Cashew as part of the Dept. of Biotechnology, Mission for Quality Planting Material Production and Utilization for the Northeast, through an MoU with Nagaland University under the mission in 2008 and engaged eight villages namely – Chizami, Thetsumi, Porba, Pholami, Upper Khomi, Middle Khomi, Losami, Chesezu and Razeba town.

The Trees for Wealth Movement also works to promote the commercialising of high yielding fruit trees under its mission, to plant 1 Billion by 2050. Under this, various fruit trees like, Kiwi, Persimmon, Avocado, Plum, Jerusalem Fig, Tamarillo, Guava, Lemon, Chestnut, Apple and other native varieties are being promoted.

Such initiatives have been undertaken by tEA to promote Agri business for farmers and youths to engage in farming activities and change mindsets to recognize farming as a viable income generating activity. To encourage farmers tEA helps with providing trainings, mentorship along with credit and market linkages.

Scaling Production to Processing:

The Entrepreneurs Associates was founded with the core belief that Nagaland and the Northeast region can progress and grow only when the local communities are empowered, EA’s work has been focused on supporting individuals and groups from communities to create opportunities, wealth, and employment.

Recognizing the multiple linkages within and beyond the market, EA’s model has been designed to support all involved in such networks and for all to gain benefits beginning from the entrepreneurs, and farmers to street vendors who play a significant role in creating and maintaining rural-urban networks. By addressing these linkages, the need for the development of entrepreneurship has been identified whereby more opportunities can be created, income generated and local communities empowered to create sustainable change and livelihood.

Post the pandemic, the Entrepreneurs Associates (tEA) has been exploring food processing opportunities as the COVID 19 situation highlighted the lack of production in Nagaland and the absence of any industry to help in the proper management of any excess. Hence to address these needs, tEA began promoting skills training in Jam & Pickle, while also exploring other possibilities.

Micro Food Processing Unit:

The Micro Food Processing Unit at Kukidolong, Jharnapani, Chumoukedima District Nagaland is a “Shared Production Centre” between The Entrepreneurs Associates (tEA) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The Micro Food Processing Unit will be the first of its kind in Nagaland and has been established with the need to help farmers cultivate and market Naga (native) ginger, chillies, large cardamom, rosella leaves, pineapples, kiwi, persimmon, etc. found in abundance but often perish due to lack of food processing facilities which can help convert raw materials to preserved goods.

This micro-enterprise is part of tEA’s COVID response, having witnessed the huge losses incurred by farmers as harvests perished due to the closing of markets. Such agricultural produce can be processed and converted to other dried, canned, or preserved goods with longer shelf life and easier marketability.

This micro-enterprise will help in dehydrating spices and fruits, beginning with ginger – a first of its kind in Nagaland. To ensure its success, the Entrepreneurs Associates will help with packaging and marketing in the local market and beyond