Letpao Haokip for uniform development

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 29 : Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Letpao Haokip has categorically stated that Manipur will prosper and become self  reliant only when there is uniform development in both the hill and valley districts of the State.
He explained that the State will develop when there is growth of farm sectors in the hill districts.
The Minister made the statement during a function held at Food Park, Nilakuthi to distribute planting material for the scheme "Cultivation of Horticulture Crops as an Alternative to Poppy Cultivation in Hill Areas" as a part of War on Drugs 2.0.
Speaking as the chief guest of the function, Letpao Haokip continued that hill districts cover 92 per cent of the total geographical areas of Manipur while the valley areas constitute only eight per cent.
Saying that the State has been procuring food items such as rice and others from outside Manipur as the food production in the valley areas alone is not sufficient to meet the local requirement, the Minister maintained that this problem of inadequacy could be  fixed once the hill districts tap its full potential and start producing enough food for the State.
On poppy cultivation, Letpao Haokip said that many farmers opted to grow poppy as it is more lucrative and can easily make Rs 30,000 per kilogram of poppy harvested.
Further stating that the department concerned should apprise the poppy growers of high value plantation and engage them in horticultural crop plantations which are cost effective, Letpao Haokip added that high value plantation is more profitable than poppy cultivation.
"It's not that the staff in the department are not working but we must be very sincere and not hesitate to work in hill areas if we are to take the State forward," he clarified.
"Hill districts in Manipur are also a part and parcel of the State," he added.
The Minister also appealed to the farmers of Manipur to work harder so that their organic produce can be sold to other States.
Saying that a DoNER Minister has approved the introduction of a terrace cultivation project in Manipur, Letpao Haokip said  that he would prepare the DPR for the project soon and send it to the Ministry.
The Minister further stated he will extend all assistance to the Horticulture Department in promoting the organic food and vegetables grown by Manipuri farmers.
Later, Letpao Haokip flagged off a number of trucks carrying planting materials for other districts.
Additional Director of Horticulture and Soil Conservation K Debdutta Sharma said that the planting materials which will be distributed includes saplings of Kachai lemon (28,125),  low chilling apples (3,000), cashew plant (4,375) and litchi plant (4,000).
Apart from the saplings, the consignment also includes 3,15,000 pineapple suckers, 1,20,000 large cardamom suckers, 64 metric tonnes of turmeric and 30 metric tonnes of ginger, he added.
Saying that the planting materials distributed in the first phase will be planted at 985 acre of land where poppies were  grown earlier, he added the second phase of the planting materials will be distributed in September -October 2022.