Ukl youth says no to poppy, yes to horti crops


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 21: Twenty five years old progressive farmer GS Khamarek from Lunghar village in Ukhrul is inspiring youths to "Say No to Poppy and Yes to Horticulture crops".
With a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, Khamarek is now following the footstep of his late father and has become a successful farmer who is growing horticulture crops on around 3 hectares of land in Lunghar village.
Some weeks later he will harvest 15,000 cabbages, 15,000 cauliflowers and 500 broccoli and other crops.
He has started harvesting the broccoli.
Khamarek is son of Late GS Isaac.
He is the third of five children--4 sons and one daughter.
He completed BSc Life Science from Ramjas College, Delhi University and later pursued MSc Environmental Science in Dhanamanjuri College, Imphal.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, Khamarek said adopting horticulture crops in the hills instead of cultivating illegal crops like poppy will have a positive impact on the society and the environment.
"Cultivating illegal crops such as poppy harms the society and it destroys hectares of green cover in the hills. While it harms the environment, the rampant use of chemicals in cultivating the crops harms the soil. Adopting horticulture crops and practising organic farming instead can mitigate the problems and replenish the earth," Khamarek said.
The 25-year-old said the people in the hills, especially youths, must bring about a revolution to discourage poppies and adopt horticulture crops.
Khamarek said his late father, before falling victim to cancer a year ago, was also a progressive farmer who grew horticulture crops successfully.
He said he is following the footsteps of his father and applying the knowledge he has gained from experts in the field.
Khamarek said he got immense help from the Horticulture Director K Debadutta and appreciates him.
While Khamarek has successfully embarked on his journey as a progressive farmer with the help of his family, one of his brothers is in New Delhi and is aspiring to crack UPSC's civil services examination.
Khamarek said the money he gets from selling the vegetables and crops from the field easily pays for the coaching fee of his brother in Delhi and education for other siblings.
Besides earning substantial money, "eating organic is healthy and it brings joy," he said.
Speaking to The Sangai Express about Khamarek, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Director K Debadutta said he knew his father, Isaac when he was posted as the District Horticulture Officer in Ukhrul.
Khamarek's late father, Isaac, was a successful farmer and had immense knowledge on farming, he said.
The Director said Isaac successfully produced crops and vegetables very early before others and during off seasons.
The cabbages and cauliflowers his son is growing now will be produced when the crops become scarce. This requires calculated efforts and such crops which are produced early and in off season sell at high prices, Debadutta said.
He further said Khamarek had produced tomatoes and varieties of peas much before others produced them.
Debadutta said seeing the sincere hard work the family put into farming, the Department has been providing them assistance whenever possible.
He said, unlike others, the family doesn't wait for seeds from the Department.
"The family prepares and stores seeds in advance from what they have cultivated. They are not dependent on anyone for seeds. The family has a very disciplined practice and approach to farming," said the Director.
He further said Khamarek gained valuable knowledge from his father and is now applying them after completing his studies.
"Khamarek has shown that youths mustn't consider Government jobs as the only job. While applying for jobs, there is so much one can do in farming. Khamarek has encouraged others to adopt farming," Debadutta said.
The Director said Khamarek has been provided bee boxes for beekeeping under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
The Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department will continue to provide every possible assistance to Khamarek, he added.