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| Last Updated:01/04/2024

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Planting materials distributed as alternative to poppy

 Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, April 15 2023: Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department handed over planting materials for distribution to farmers of different districts under the department's 'Cultivation of Horticulture Crops as an Alternative to Poppy Cultivation in Hill Areas' programme for the financial year 2023-24.Horticulture and soil conservation minister Letpao Haokip handed over the planting materials to the respective district officers in a function held at the department office located near Sanjenthong here on Saturday morning.

Horticulture and Soil Conservation director Honey Chara and ICAR-RC NEHR principal scientist and nodal officer (seed project) Dr I Meghachandra attended the function as president and guest of honour respectively.

Speaking as chief guest on the occasion, Letpao Haokip observed that 92 per cent of the state's total geographical area is in the hills and depending on the 8 per cent valley area for everything will not bring socio-economic development in the state.

Utilising the vast areas of hills for crop production could boost the state's economy, he said.

Due to the relentless efforts of the department, people across the state are now aware of the activities of the department.

In order to continue the outreach, officials of the department need to work with sincerity and dedication, he said, while urging them to listen to grievances of the fanners in order to address their challenges.

He also stressed the need for timely distribution of planting materials to the farmers.

Department officials should work on the ground, especially during planting season, the minister said and urged the district officers to ensure that the planting materials reach the farmers in hill areas, who used to cultivate poppy.

The minister expressed concern over the way horticultural products are sold in the local market.

Considering the situation, he will see if the department can take up steps to arrange vending spaces in malls or shopping complexes.

He also proposed the idea of home delivery of horticultural and agricultural products, which will not only enhance income of farmers but also provide livelihood opportunities to many.

Horticulture and soil conservation joint director K Debdutta assured of fulfilling the vision of the minister.

He informed that the cashew saplings were procured from Karnataka.

They are produced through grafting and they will be suitable for plantation in hot climatic conditions like those in Moreh as the plant is already growing, though scarcely, in the border town.

Under the project, the department is planning to incorporate 700 farmers covering around 700 acres of farmland in Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, Kamjong, Chandel, Senapati, Churachandpur and Tengnoupal districts.

The project is being taken up at a cost of Rs 6 crore for the financial year 2023-24.The plants include Kachai lemon, pineapple, cashew, litchi, avocado, cardamom, Asafoetida (Hing), turmeric, ginger, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, onion, chili, tomato, bitter gourd, cucumber, brinjal, watermelon and ladyfingers (Okra), he added.

Later, minister Letpao Haokip flagged off distribution programme of vegetable seeds and fruit saplings to farmers under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) from the Mission's office near Sanjenthong, here, on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, MIDH mission director Zakir Hussain informed that Horticulture and soil Conservation Department has been distributing seedlings of different plants including kiwi, lemon, orange, avocado, dragon fruit, apple and banana, to farmers twice a year under the MIDH.

These seedlings are developed through tissue culture and distributed to farmers according to their location by studying their suitability.

This is the second distribution for 2022-23 and the seedlings will be distributed to 558 farmers covering 400 hectares, he said.

On the other hand, vegetable seeds such as ladyfingers (Okra), cucumber, brinjal, tomato, chilli, capsicum and watermelon will be distributed to 981 farmers covering 900 hectares of farmland.

He expressed hope that distribution of the seeds before the monsoon season will facilitate proper growth of the plants leading to better yield and income for the farmers.

He further said that the department also takes up measures to ensure crop rotation among the farmers to rejuvenate soil.