Ukhrul, Jan 14: The 16th State Level Kachai Lemon Festival kicked off at the Kachai village ground in Ukhrul today.
The two-day festival, which is aimed at preserving and promoting the GI tagged indigenous lemon, is being celebrated under the theme "Save the Pollina-tors," emphasising on the importance of saving bees and many insects which help in pollination.
Joint Director ICAR Dr N Prakash inaugurated the event by slicing a Kachai lemon before the gathering. He lauded the villagers of Kachai for their efforts in promoting the lemon species.
Altogether 89 stalls exhibiting and selling lemons are opened at the venue.
According to some villagers, lemon yield has seen an increase from last year. Over 250 metric tonnes of Kachai lemons are produced this year, they said.
Kachai lemon is being planted at around 500 hectares and the plantation is gradually expanding to the neighbouring villages.
On the occasion, the farmers' narrated about how they struggled as well as their success stories of lemon plantation. They also highlighted the issues they are facing with regard to their plantations.
Hearing the aspirations of the farmers, N Ningthemjao Singh, Project Director EBADA, who attended the event as guest of honour, assured the villagers that an integrated processing unit and an integrated packaging house would be set up in the village.
Later, Dr N Prakash, the chief guest distributed prizes to the winners of the best three Kachai lemons, best three exhibitors and best pest management.
The State level Kachai Lemon Festival is being organised by Kachai Fruit Farming & Processing Co-operative Society Ltd and sponsored by North Eastern Council through EBADA, MIDH & MOMA, Horticulture Department, Tourism Department and MACS.
Array of lemons were showcased where visitors rushed in to purchase the locally produced organic lemons.