Saturday 12 November 2011

Orange of Jampui Hill: Nightmare to the farmers.

Orange of Jampui Hill, until ten years ago there used to be meaty talks by every one for Jampui orange. However, now-a-days, no much talks on the topic are heard. It is for the fact that orange of Jampui hill no longer matter most by the people due to absence in the market. There was a time; orange of Jampui hill would make different identity in a lot of many and, products also faces comparatively higher prices than that of others.
Orange of Jampui is in great crisis, production declined, orchards wiped out due disease like powdery Mildew. This ongoing crisis has completely devastated the people of Jampui which has taken hit in the bread and butter of the people.

Significance of orange in hill people:-

Jampui hill due to its geographical position is natural abode and home to many rare forest species and also cool climate. Orange has added extra beauty to the hill. In congruity with natural abode and climatic conditions, many tourist activities had come up around the Jampui hill. In earlier days, during orange season that is during harvesting time, orange festival arranged by the state department would attracts thousands of people in Jampui hill. But, now with decline of orange in the hill, every thing become stand still and there is no lively activities that Jampui hill once anchored.

Orange growing areas of Jampui hill:

   In Jampui hill, Vaisham, Hmanchuang, Tlakshi, Hmanpui, Vanghmun, Behlianchip, Subual and Phuldongsei were the main orange growing areas. Of these, Vanghmun, Behlianchip, Subual and Phuldongsei were the one time hub of Jampui orange.
     Orange orchards had come up in the sloppy hill of Jampui under the thick and dense vegetation. The growth of orange tree was profuse and bearing pattern was also very much satisfactory and encouraging.
    People used to say, because of heavy bearing, many orange stems breaks open and causing loss in next season. Such was the bearing so was the production. During my visit to Jampui hill, one elderly farmer was recollecting his golden harvest days as to how much be earned from his orange orchard.
    During the month of November and December, traders from Kanchanpur, Silchar would make huge business in Jampui hill produce orange farmers were also in happy for they earned lakhs of rupees from their orchards.

Decline of orange in Jampui hill:

     Now, it is might mare for the people of Jampui hill. Very few people are gathering for Jampui hill reason, orange orchards devastated, orange production declined to the lowest level and tourist activities fade off. This is the situation of Jampui hill in perspective of orange cultivation.
      In the year 2003, when I first visited Jampui hill especially in the areas of Hmanpui, Tlakshi and Vanghmun, I was curious to see the orange orchards of Jampui hill. However, my experience was really disheartening for orange orchards welcomed me with dried up and decaying orange trees. At some point of time, I took aerial view of the whole orchards; observation, whole orchard was left with few green orange trees.
       In the year, 2004 and 2005, I had again visited whole areas of Jampui hill covering all arrange growing areas, during that time, I observed that orange orchards of Tlakshi and Hmanpui had completely wiped out, similarly in Vanghmun and Behlianchip orange orchards were in decaying condition. Most of the orange trees were found decaying due to disease. 
   In my last visit to Jampui that in harvesting season, I did not find any significant activities in the hill because orange production by that time had come to the minuscule level.
    Some activities were seen only in the areas of Behlianchip, Subual and Phuldongsei where some orchards have survived from the onslaught of deadly powdery mildew disease.

Initiatives of state department:

The state department of Agriculture has started initiative to save the orange orchards of the Jampui hill. But, success in terms of recovery and re-generation were not in sign.
  The department had taken the help of the scientist from Nagpur and elsewhere but no sign of improvement. Deterioration of the orchards had further worsened and in due course many more orange orchards had been damaged by the deadly disease.
      The state department as and alternative has started new plantation in the Jampui. It is not sure whether these new plantation can revive the glory of the past.
Causes of decline of orange in Jampui hill:
There are several reasons for decline of orange in Jampui hill however, I am not the authority or I do not have specific data to elaborate the exact causes of decline of orange in the hill. But, from the media reports and voices of the people, the followings could be the reason of such massive decline:
  1. Disease infection: - As discussed above, powdery mildew that infected the frown up orange trees had devastated the orange orchard of the Jampui hill.
Another disease, citrus canker had also reported to be inflicted the grown up orange orchards.
  1. Deforestation and change of climatic condition: It was discussed that sudden depletion of forest cover of the Jampui hill had significantly impacted the climatic condition of the Jampui hill. So is conductive environment for orange orchards.
However, there is no empirical data to prove this but people who are closely associated with Jampui hill would say that temperature of the Jampui hill has increased significantly and this was presumed to be one of the factor that influenced negatively on orange orchards.
  1. Aged plantation:- There is also another aspect people used to whisper that is, orange trees had become very old so is decline. Well, I personally do not know but I do believe that there is certain term for every thing after that there would be decline in terms of growth and production.
Now coming to the road map for reviving of orange orchards of Jampui hill is concerned, concerted approach with followings may bring new hopes to the people of Jampui hill:-
    1. Taking care of surviving old plantation.
    2. Approach for new plantation may continue.
    3. Re-generation of forest covers.
    4. Sensitization of the people to prevent possible spread of disease to the new plantation.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Traditional Rice Varieties: Disappearance from Tripura

I set it very clear to myself that I was from farming background. I know and experience the phasing movement in Agriculture farming that has been taking place in my area.
Being rooted in farming background, I have come across many appearance, re-appearance and disappearance of many traditional Rice Varieties in my area. I am quite confident that same is the case in all areas of the state.
Having said that, I have come across several traditional Rice Varieties that used to be grown in highland as well as in low lying areas have disappeared from my area.
 There are at least 5(five) to 6 (six) traditional Rice Varieties that were grown in through shifting cultivation and in low lying areas had completely disappeared. I do not know whether these traditional Rice varieties are still exists in other areas or not.
These traditional varieties of rice which used to be grown in shifting cultivation as well as high land and low lying areas were the delight of the people because of cooking quality and flavor of traditional Rice.
I had the experience to visit the rice field in high land where traditional Rice Variety was in dough stage, how charming it was, whole area was scented by that traditional Rice Variety.
But, those traditional scented Rice Varieties have slowly disappeared from the area. This slow disappearance or replacement with new Rice Varieties had started mainly with the following conditions:
·Shifting cultivation declined: The moment, shifting cultivation started declining in the state; these traditional Rice Varieties had been abandoned.
·Low unit yield of traditional Rice Varieties: Traditional rice varieties in a competition for more yields in the unit area had failed with the new and improved varieties of Rice. This has sidelined these traditional Rice varieties.
·Single variety approach: In earlier, a farmer used to grow several varieties of rice in a season for meeting the different requirements. I had the experience to observe that a farmer was growing 3-4 varieties of rice viz: sticky rice variety, puffed rice variety and coarse grain rice variety.
But, now no farmer is growing more the 2(two) varieties of rice, this is the reason many traditional rice varieties had been pushed back and wiped out from the area. 

Conservation of traditional Rice Varieties:

The state Government may initiate to preserve and conserve these traditional Rice varieties which are still available in some parts of Tripura. The department concerned should immediately start the project for establishing gene bank for traditional Rice Varieties otherwise, our future generation will be deprived off from this once favorable stable food and in this case we are to be blamed for our deeds.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Sericulture in Tripura: Sidelined!

Sericulture in Tripura has long been associated with the people; however, it is still sidelined by the people. Sericulture as a diversification activity is really promising in Tripura due to its soil and climatic condition.
Good soil, monsoonal rainfall along with suitable day length, temperature and relative humidity are favorable for Mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing.
The state Government has realized the potentiality of sericulture in the state but after long drawn people centric approach has not or could not earn the interest of the people. 
The concerned different in their roadmap to popularize the sericulture in fur flung areas had taken several pro-active initiatives by offering financial support and technical know how but sericulture did not take off in desired or expected level.
This is one of the promising activities that small and marginal farmers could have been benefited in their economic prosperity and social dignity with the support from the Government in the pursuit for economic prosperity. Nevertheless, it is not creating buzz in the state.

Approach of the Government for sericulture:

The Government of Tripura through sericulture department having realized the potentiality of sericulture in the state has been pursuing for spread and popularization of sericulture to the farming communities. 
The state Government of Tripura has, in its pursuit, supply Mulberry cutting, Fertilizers and other input costs to the farmers in free of cost. In addition silkworm seeds (Certified),chandrike and chemicals for controlling the disease etc are also provided in free of cost.
One of the primary requirement for silkworm rearing, the house is provided with the monetary support of the sericulture department so that farming communities do not face the initial financial hiccup in sericulture that is silkworms rearing.
The sericulture department has another approach of purchasing the cocoon produced by the farmers to their collection centers in good price. 
This is being done with two objectives; first is, farmers receives affordable price per kilogram of cocoons either dried or green cocoon, second is, since there is no private reeling centers /  entrepreneur in the silk reeling and weaving (minor) so, cocoon produced by the farmers are not subjected to remain as un-sold products thereby loss.

Qualitative approach for quantitave yield:

The Government of Tripura in sericulture department has shipped certified silkworm seeds from Bangluru and West Bengal for providing good quality and high yielding strains of Mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori L. 
In Tripura, in earlier days Nistari, a multivoltine strain of silkworm were used to be brought from West Bengal but now-a-days crossbreed strain of Bivoltine and Multivoltine are reared in the state. Although, Nistari which is highly adaptable but are low yield per 100dfls compare to Bivoltine and cross breed strain. 
Bivoltine which is high yielding compare to cross breed silkworm strain had something been tried in the state but farmers finds its difficult at the maturity stage that is farmers fail to differentiate the spinning stage of matured silkworm which causes loss to the sericulture farmers, but again, Bivoltine breed is quite susceptible to different pathogens compare cross breed strain of silk worm. 
Therefore, in Tripura, whatever may be position in terms of production of cocoon and silk, cross breed has fairly been popularized and adapted too.
In Tripura, silkworm seed production has been started few years ago through the trained and qualified professional. Now, dependency for certified silkworm seeds (eggs) from other state like Karnataka has come down to a certain level.

Feed back from the farming communities:

Well, farmers have been selected; training and teaching in the matter of sericulture have also been given before actual implementation of the program.
Now, the selection of land; no big farmers or farmers with big land holding have come forward or they might not have been selected for the program because of criteria of the particular scheme. Finally, small and marginalized farmers had been selected, fine.
But, size of land chosen for the Mulberry cultivation is really surprising; it is very small, fragmented, sloppy, highland which were till recently kept as fallow by the farmers. O.K. let us assume that this is also fine.
Now, starts the actual implementation, silkworm rearing house constructed, Mulberry cuttings planted and all the required items supplied for rearing of first batch of silkworm during autumn season but Mulberry growth is not satisfactory, quantities of leaves available in the field is not sufficient for rearing even 50 dfls however, silkworm seeds(eggs) arrived, hatched and started rearing. 
Farmer reaps the first harvest within one month, very enthusiastic, all cocoons taken to the collection centers and sold. Profit is gross returns rupees two thousand in Indian currency. Farmers in dejected mode, however, let it continue for next phase; no incremental income. 
Finally loss of interest which first manifested by not taking care of mulberry plantation or field, Mulberry plants loss the fight with natural weeds so finally stops the whole hungama of sericulture.
This is how the most promising and profitable sericulture has been valued by the farming communities and people of the state. The question is; do the people know the potentiality of the sericulture? Don’t they know that sericulture activities could be year long activities? Are they not informed that silkworms could be reared 3-4 times a year that any agricultural crops can do?

How to sustain the sericulture growth in the state?

Well, the first approach of sericulture of expansion that I here is “sericulture activities could taken up in fallow or vacant or un-utilized land” This is the approach that I feel create some kinds of backtracking to the farming communities. 
It should well be passed on to the farming communities that Mulberry cultivation nicely fits even in your highland and fertile land. Big farmers should also be encouraged, as I said big farmers’ participation in the sericulture activities is very meager and it is equivalent to zero.
Now, no big farmers are interested in the sericulture, what they feel is; it is for marginalized farmers who do not have suitable land for agricultural crops. This mind set should change. The Government although have done enough to attract the small and marginalized farmers should explore the idea with well to do farmers too.
Unless, there is mass movement and exemplary result by anyone, people who are connected with may not gets the real life sharing inspiration. Sericulture is one such area which can create several steps of linkage in employment generation especially in rural areas.
Let us explore the sericulture for improving the rural economy.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Flood, Earthquake, Snow Storm: Mother Nature is Ultimate.

Mother Nature: You are the Ultimate:

To begin with, I would like to put the previous remnant that I tried to elaborate as to how the Mother Nature is taking its own course of action. 
Ultimatum of mother nature has been abound now-a-days that is the reason, we human being, not exactly only human beings but all living beings had to suffer the wrath of mother nature by engulfing show off of flood, earthquake and snowstorm etc. Millions of people affected and thousands perished due to the furry of Mother Nature.
We, the people, since our evolution to the present form had been witnessing the debilitation mode of the Mother Nature. Since, then we might have learned a lot as to how to avoid and escape from the devastating flood, earthquake, fire, tsunami and snow storm etc.
But, till date, our learning, improvement, advancement and prediction had been outmaneuvered by the natural calamities. When, it happens, ours years of labor and achievement had been washed out within the moment.
There is no denying that we have progressed to a great extent and we learnt to live comfortably and peacefully without the fear that our forefathers of generations had to face in their existence on the planet earth.
 However, that fear of fight or confrontation with the beast has not been there as we move forward but natural calamity has been and seems to be recurring more often then not. It is as if in every quarter or may be little earlier than that of has been taking place around the world.

Flood in Thailand:

Recently, Thailand is in the new and the country is fighting the loss battle of flood which is reported to be the natural calamity in 50th years of its history. This flood water has inundated lakhs acres of land in Northern Province of Thailand.
More so is flood water is reported to be progressing towards capital Bangkok. This worst flood has so far claimed 370 lives and millions of people become homeless. 
The river Choufraya is swelling above the threat level and it is already 2.47 meters up from mean level. This exaggeratedly swelling of river water may break the dam so is devastation of Bangkok
The city dwellers of Bangkok is already in scary and moved to safer places but the relief camps are now over burdened. This worst flood is the result of last two months incisive rainfall of the monsoon. 
Usually, monsoonal rainfall do not extends beyond October but this un-usual extension over a prolong period of time has resulted in flood and misery to the people.
Recent media report suggest that one fourth of capital city Bangkok is inundated with flood water. 
This natural disaster of scale had compelled the country to think otherwise for safety and security of the people and their property. American sea hawk helicopter is in constant observation of the situation and appraisal for the country.

Earthquake in Turkey:

In other part of the world is also in crisis due to natural disaster. Turkey, which witnessed the worst earthquake in the August 17, 1999 which claimed more than 14000 lives and made homeless to 200000 people, has again strike the country.
On October 23, 2011, 7.2 scale magnitude of earthquake has killed more than 596 people that strike in the eastern province von.
During this onset of winter, this earthquake has created lots of problem to the people of the country. Again, thousands of people become homeless and relief camp over burdened.
Turkey which is geologically one of the seismic prone zones has again been devastated by the natural disaster.

Snow Storm in America:

These, natural calamities of flood and earthquake did not stop in these two countries, mother nature as I said is in show off mode has turned on to the America. 
In America, sudden and rave snow storm in the Northern Province has claimed 9 lives and two million people and businesses are left out without power. This rare snow storm that strike in north-eastern province of America has brought 3 billion dollar damage.
Now, coming to the points associated with these natural calamities, all these disasters are causes of inherent natural and geological factors and however, finger pointing towards man made disaster too.
In Thailand, the recent and ongoing flood is suspected to be the causes of urban expansion, deforestation and climate change.
Extension of urban area puts pressure on land, more precisely forest land so is deforestation. Deforestation do take place for other activities too like agriculture expansion, legal and illegal felling of trees but regeneration is least concerned. 
All these had influenced on climate change and climatic change has brought out all sorts of natural calamities for which mankind had to suffer.
In America, this rare snow storm as opposed to its normal timing is also the cause of Global warming. Of course, there are several schools of thoughts; one sees as the effect of global warming and, indication of early and snowy winter other, see it as El Nino.
Whatever may be the thought; there are reasons that are closely connected to climate change due to our greedy deeds. However, it is least assured and least bothered. May be the IPCC would come out and brief the causes of recurrence of natural disaster to the people.
In Turkey, it is highly deliberated that it was the cause of inherent geological disturbances that has caused this earthquakes. Turkey, it is primarily due to Anatolian Fault zone that has nothing to do with human intervention.

Seismic Warning: North East India

In Tripura, a north eastern state of India along with sister states of the region is also under seismic prone zone. In my earlier post, I had elaborated the one such earthquake that has claimed lives in the north-eastern states and neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
During that time, Sikkim a tiny state has suffered a lot due to such tremor. North-eastern states as already mentioned are lying in the seismic prone zone-V.
Recently concerned department of the Government of India has alerted the state Government of Tripura as two districts of the state are highly seismic prone zone. North and Dhalai districts of Tripura are warned to be in highly seismic prone zone. 
This is enough for the people and Government to act and prepare for eventualities that may inflict on the people.
On 02/11/2011, there was a seminar on the topic and elaborated disaster management mechanism which was attended by the official from Government of India, Chief Minister of Tripura and administrative officials of the state.
I hope the seminar has shed some insights in taking or managing the natural disaster in more rapid and effective manner.
We, the people should come forward and orient towards the movement for better managing the natural disaster otherwise, unprepared state could be hugely affected due to such recurrence if ever happened.
We have no control on Mother Nature, let us learn from nature and manage the situation.