Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Jan. 5 (EMN): Livelihood through honest hard work and dedication is always sweeter than the easiest money. And when it involves something much sought after such as the Kiwi fruit, it’s sweetest. 27-year old Velhutolu and her 31-year old husband Veshuvo may testify that there still are Naga people who are hard workers and dedicated farmers.
Velhutolu is a farmer from Pholami village in Phek district. Farming is a promising form of employment if taken seriously; and the earnings are ‘sweeter’ and pay off for the sweat and sleepless nights, she says.
The mother of three children travels to Dimapur and Kohima with her husband to sell their farming produce: kiwi fruits. She says: ‘Naga mano kan farming kuribo lagae’ (Nagamese for ‘Naga people need to engage in farming’), implying that the sector is as a good source of income.
For the past three years, they have been travelling to Kohima and Dimapur, besides other villages to sell the fruit. The farmer sells organic kiwi fruit at the busy New Market streets in Dimapur. She told Eastern Mirror that she along with her husband had been transporting their farm produce in their Van, an Omni, to various places since the past few years.
When asked why they travel to places far away when the fruits can be sold from the village itself, the smart farmer said she prefers selling the produce directly to consumers at wholesale prices. By doing so, she explained, the selling price of the produce remains the same with everyone, be it the fruit seller or the direct buyer.
The van is packed with organic Kiwi fruit, and was seen parked near the Medical Hall at New Market. It was attracting many customers who gathered to buy the kiwi fruit costing INR 150/kg. The price was the same for both commercial and direct buyers.
Street fruit vendors who also bought the fruit from them said: ‘Iki rate hobo, beshi loilae bhi’ (Nagamese for ‘one price/rate even if one buys much’). Interestingly, none of the vendors were seen selling the fruit which they had bought. Why? Velhutolu said the vendors sell the fruit at much higher rates!
Every year during the kiwi season starting September till January, the two travel to Dimapur. It is worthwhile travelling for a ‘profitable business’ and an ‘honest income.’ She disclosed that their last business trip carrying 90 kg of kiwi fruit to Dimapur on Fri. Jan. 4 earned them around 11, 000.
Velhutolu said that kiwi fruits during season are sold at INR 70/kg and a maximum of 150/kg during off-seasons. She said they travel on a weekly basis with the Wednesday Supermarket bazaar as the main market for their fruits. On their return to the village, the couple buys local bananas and sell it in Kohima. The kind of dedication the duo puts into their business is in fact astonishing and encouraging.
Unemployment is a burning issue everywhere. But the duo, with their three children including two who are in school, is happy and contented with what they earn. With no monthly salaried jobs, the young couple earns from their farm produce. They are focussed and satisfied with what they earn.
During a short conversation with this reporter, the businesswoman encouraged people to work hard in any kind of profession they are engaged in. She has a word from out of her years of farming experience: Farming is a profitable business if one works hard.
The duo are one of the very few farmers who venture out from the village looking for markets to sell their produce—instead of establishing themselves in a market for customers to come. Their marketing idea seems to be quite successful even if it must come with a little more extra effort and dedication.