Very recently I visited KOLASIB , a small town in Mizoram State. In that District ,I saw huge areas of Coffee plantation in the hill slopes by the Mizo people with great enthusiasm. When I enquired about how do they do this and the marketing of the Coffee produced by them,they said ,it was initiated by “ THE COFFEE BOARD OF INDIA”,which is under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India. An Extension Centre of this Board is there at KOLASIB, they Said.
The Coffee growers said, there is no problem in marketing their crops as THE COFFEE BOARD is taking the responsibility for that, as a result their family’s income is sustained due to the plantation of Coffee.
When I visited one of the Coffee Farms, it was amazing to see how they grow coffee. It was so beautiful to see the way they grow coffee. Not only growing the Coffee in their hill slopes ,they also plant trees for giving shades to the coffee plants. They also plant beetle leaves( KWA MANA) as well as GUL MARICH (Kali Mircha / Black Pepper) around the trees for the shade of coffee plants which provides support to these Creepers.
They said, additional income from these crops are also obtained, so they have no monetary problem for their family even if they are not Government employees. Planting the trees for giving shades to the coffee plants also prevents soil erosion during rainy season and thus control flash floods and keeps the environment clean and balanced.
However it takes at least three years for the coffee to grow fully and get the fruits from the initial period of planting it, but once it completes three years there is not much maintenance and the life span is 80 years.
The experts from COFFEE BOARD provide technical support for the Coffee Growers at regular interval to avoid diseases and control from pest etc.
After seeing this, I thought this can be done in Manipur also so that the problem of Poppy plantation can be solved. Not only this, economy of our people will also be improved ,at the same time planting of trees around the coffee plants will also prevent soil erosion for a better Environment and control flash floods.
When I returned I tried to contact the experts from COFFEE BOARD of India, to my surprise a small unit of this Board already exists in Manipur initiating plantation of Coffee in various places of Manipur like at Ukhrul, Senapati, Noney, Churachandpur, Chandel, Thoubal etc. The experts say the quality of Coffee produced from North East region is very high and costly in the International Market and the soil and climate of Manipur is very much suitable for this crop.If it is true why we should not plant Coffee in hilly region of Manipur extensively for economic growth, environmental protectionetcetc ? Taking this fact into account I draw the attention of the Government of Manipur to initiate to grow COFFEE on large scale in the state of Manipur for multipronged benefits of our state.
Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
Khoijuman Maning Leikai, Bishnupur Dist.