Women farmers bat for facilites to export indigenous fruits and crops

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 27: Numerous women farmers of the State have appealed to the State Government to make necessary arrangements for converting lands lying freely at various locations so as to plant appropriate crops and export the produce to other States so that the State does not have to depend all the time to other people.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, a woman farmer identified as Wahengbam (o) Ashangbi (35), who is also a member of a group of women farmers (seven in numbers) based in Lamboikhul Awang Leikai of Imphal East district, said that she has been earning her livelihood by planting/farming various fruits and crops with other women of the village for the last 10 years.
Some years ago she began planting vegetables exported from other States, which she usually sold for around Rs 50 to Rs 70 per Kgs (depending on the type of the produce) and as such she usually earned around Rs 1.50 lakh per harvest of her fields.
Ashangbi explained that the indigenous people of the State are often not fond of such vegetables which are from outside the State and as such when they are sold at Khwairamband Keithel, the vegetables are mostly bought by non locals.
She stated that crops and fruits grown in Manipur’s soil are often more delicious compared to products imported from outside the State and as such, if the seeds and plants from outside are properly planted in the State, the resulting crops will be able to generate high demand and income at the same time.
If Kachai lemon, Tamenglong oranges, Theiyong pineapples are exported outside the State in fresh or even juice or preserved forms, the farmers will be able to easily ear substantial income, she added.
Ashangbi said that the imported seeds often costs around Rs 1300 per 10 grams or similar to Rs 1 per seed and diamond fertilisers costs Rs 200 per kg. If the fertiliser is organic, they costs around Rs 350 per kg.
Expressing belief that the farmers would be able to generate more income of the Government takes up steps to reduce the price of fertilisers, Ashangbi said that many women merchants come to buy the vegetable and produce ranging from cauliflower, cabbages, peas to beans, tomatoes, brinjal and spring onions etc to sell them at Khwairamband Keithel.
Ashangbi said that the farmers do receive some seeds and saplings from the Horticulture Department from time to time but as the supplied amount is not enough, the farmers usually buy extra seed and sapling from the shops. Pointing out that the farmers often have to bear immense difficulties as the seeds are bought from the shops, she appealed to the State Government to address the issue at the earliest. On the other hand, Ashangbi said that if the authority concerned gave green house and other high tech facilities to the farmers, the farmers would be able to produce different types of crops irrespective of the weather or seasons, which is often the difficulty faced by farmers in the State.
She explained that the women working in the farms are given Rs 250 per day and they are also sharing the produce grown in the farms.
Stating that many women in the State, in both the hills and the valley, are engaged in farming, Ashangbi said that the Go to Village mission of the State Government would be more fruitful if the State Government included some sort of survey programme to find out the various crops which can be planted in the land which are lying unused in the villages and various parts of the State.
She then identified the women working in the field as Sanasam Yaimabi of Lamboikhul, Laimujam Mema of Uyumpok Mamang Leikai, Samom Ibemma of Uyumpok Terapur, Wahengbam Suchibala of Lamboikhul, Sanasam Manglemtombi of Lamboikhul and Wahengbam Keinahanbi of Lamboikhul.
On the other hand, speaking to The Sangai Express, Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation Director K Kipgen said that it is indeed heartening to see women farmers utilising the unused land for farming and generating income and added that the Department provides cauliflower, pulses, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, watermelons and ladyfinger saplings to the farmers under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
The Department supplies seeds and saplings to 34 beneficiaries for 19 hectares of land in Imphal East, 24 beneficiaries for 12 hectares of land in Imphal West, 26 beneficiaries for 13 hectares of land in Thoubal, 36 beneficiaries for 18 hectares of land in Bishnupur, 20 beneficiaries for 10 hectares of land in Senapati, 10 beneficiaries for 5 hectares of land in Tamenglong, 20 beneficiaries for 10 hectares of land in Churachandpur, 30 beneficiaries for 15 hectares of land in Chandel and 20 beneficiaries for 10 hectares of land in Ukhrul district from time to time.
Claiming that officials and employees of Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation also distribute seeds and saplings to the people during the Go to Village programme, the Director urged the people to support the Department in its work to improve the agricultural potential of the State.

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