Hangthing Lusha, a native of Noklak, Nagaland, is credited with single-handedly revitalising the local economy within his community and spreading his ideas among fellow planters, according to a research-based storytelling platform The Borderlens.
Writing for Guwahati-based platform The Borderlens, author Jayant Ahuja tells a tale about a Nagaland man who started from scratch to build three thriving nurseries of different varieties, and ever-evolving fish ponds and nurseries which cater to markets across the border in Myanmar.
Hangthing was ten years old when he had a vision of cultivating fruit crops. His journey started with gathering the seeds of the fruits that were being thrown out by the shopkeepers. Using what little resources he possessed, Hangthing began his nursery in 1988, despite lacking the necessary technical knowledge.
At the beginning of his endeavour, he attempted a variety of methodologies, including varying the time of sowing, the intervals between watering and the depth of seeding. But even after seven years, he was unable to earn living out of it.
“The crop never produced an amount that was satisfactory enough to compete with the fruits that were transported to the Noklak market from Dimapur and Assam,” writes Jayant Ahuja.
Even Hangthing’s plans to produce fruit crops in the Noklak paddy fields were not received well as uncertainty prevailed among local farmers when it came to planting fruit trees and spice shrubs. Driven by his ambition to help his poverty-stricken family, he kept trying despite his initial failures.
“His (Hangthing) hard labour and never giving up attitude did bear fruit. Hangthing remembers with fondness the time he sold his first sapling to the soil department for a mere twelve rupees. Those first 12 rupees he made felt like millions of dollars. His character is demonstrated by his decision to reinvest those 12 rupees in the nursery,” writes Jayant Ahuja.
Over time, Hangthing grew litchi trees, coffee plants, and even cardamom at his nursery.
“In the beginning, he sold his seedlings, young fruit trees, and fruits straight from his nursery. Soon after, he reached out to serve the surrounding community. He has just lately diverged into the honey business, and he sells his product straight to the state government,” writes Jayant Ahuja.
“Aside from local customers, Hangthing also sells his fish and fish seeds to customers in Myanmar. He was always generous despite his business focus. He advised innumerable farmers on how to establish fruit tree orchards, and he even gave out saplings to the needy. With his help, Noklak now has three successful nurseries, up from just one before,” he adds.
According to Jayant, Hangthing success in any endeavour drove him to teach others how to achieve the same level of achievement.
Hangthing, who came from a poor family, now earns 4-5 lakhs per year, up from 500 rupees per month after seven years of no income. His profits lifted his family out of poverty and elevated them to the comfortable upper middle class, according to The Borderlens.