Wednesday 12 September 2012

Turmeric: Not in focus but it could be highly remunerative.

              “A farmer has sold five quintals of raw turmeric for rupees seven thousand five hundred with least investment in his homestead land, this is amazing”
            Everybody knows turmeric, the color and taste enhancer that is must for all culinary preparation.
            But, what do we know about this turmeric? Of course, many should not bother about turmeric and turmeric cultivation. However, farmers, associated in crop production or farming profession should have little more knowledge on this turmeric and how it could actually be made a part of their diversified farm activity.
            This is because turmeric is fetching good market price and demands in the market. This surge in demand and good market price of per kilogram turmeric is trending now.
            But there’s very less focus or no focus at all on this crop by many farmers. The tendency is; farmers grow turmeric in their homestead lands or in the land considered one of the un-productive for other prominent crops.
            This is happening because; nobody bothers to know its potentiality in today’s market condition. The main reason farmers or other rural person growing turmeric is basically to meet the family requirement.
            It is only when growers get surplus that they sell their turmeric to the market. This is how we consumer get raw turmeric in the market.
            There’s also another tendency; turmeric is grown in small plot of land as the objective of growing turmeric is only meeting the family requirement so is in the small scale. Very few farmers take turmeric cultivation in the large scale for earning good income.
            Therefore, it is now more or less a prominent homestead crop in Tripura. Farmers or whoever grows turmeric actually do not take care much or no care at all to this homestead crop. From first to last, there’s no special care for the turmeric crop, it comes on its own.
            Growers think of turmeric when the time of harvesting actually comes, other time; it is under the care of the nature. Harvesting? It is so simple; drying up of turmeric leaves indicates time of maturity. Nevertheless, production of turmeric with little or no care is quite satisfactory. The retail price of raw turmeric in the open market is rupees fifteen to twenty per kilo gram which is really quite high compare to last decades when it used to be sold in pittance.
            This actually clearly indicates a profitable avenue for farmers who otherwise are in search of profitable diversified activities. What is wrong if something extra is earned with little more extension of cultivation area and care to this turmeric?
                                                Agritangkol dated 01.09.2012

Thursday 6 September 2012

Food safety lab: To remove Suspicion on Agriculture produce

       What many elderly people in their 70’s have often been citing about their good old days, their lifestyle etc. They argue that people of their generation lived much longer compare to these days with all these scientific development. 
       The fact is; in those days, average longevity was really very low compare to these days but those who succeeded to live had lived much longer period. They lived much longer than now-a-days which is more so like asymmetrical graph. But, this is also observed in modern era too. 
       Health problem! People blame it to present life style and food what we consume. Let us do not discuss about life style and stick to the food stuff we take for living.
    People irrespective of living standard, now-a-days suspect agricultural produce available in the market. People in the group discuss the issues and shows apprehension on Agriculture produce. 
       What they suspect is; these are the product produced out of un-scrupulous use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers etc. Farmer’s usages lots of chemicals to produce and sale off his produce! Apprehend. 
       The fresher and shinier means more concentration of chemical residues; this is the general perception people perceives. This idea may not be true to the fact in all cases but can’t be ruled out either due to some factual reason. 
       The Government now-a-days is seriously pursuing for ensuring food safety for all packaged food items. More often than not there was news paper notification for food safety and announcing Government’s help to setup of laboratory etc. 
       This is enough to bring in order amongst the chaotic environment that has been aired or rumored by the people especially consumer on agriculture produce.
      But, in reality no food safely lab is found in the locality that is really strange at this time even though there is public outcry. 
        The public out cry would continue until such time when there will be no way out to check the quality aspect of the Agriculture produce. Until such time, visual observation and occasional taste difference would be the only quality yardstick that consumer can take up. 

                                      Agritangkol dated 31.08.2012

Friday 31 August 2012

Saving a drop for future: Rainwater harvesting, Mindset in general should change

        Change, change in every field and it has become the mantra of the day. What about changes in agriculture? 
         Yes, there’s change in agriculture too. There have been many positive changes and achievements in the farming sector for last few decades. And it has consistently been happening with many new objectives of improving agriculture scenario in the state and country.
         All these have catapulted in increasing or improving the farm productivity in the unit area by the farmer and increased the total out put in the state. 
        All these positive changes did succeed in bringing confidence in the face of hardship. But, have any one consciously observed number of negative changes that have also come along with the positive changes?
       What are the negative changes? How these changes had come to the existence? General opinion is the more persuasion for changes would also bring negative changes. 
         In the midst of several positive changes of course, there may be least numbers of negative changes. Then, negative changes although however seems to be in little number, but their affects are profound.
         Their ill affect could last long and may pose totally hazardous affect in whole farming system. It can, if not abetted, result in myriad result and could become the curse of nature. 
         Now out of many such negative changes, take the case of water scarcity in farming sector. Why theirs is water scarcity and drinking water problem? Is it due to changes in climatic condition? May be, but what role did we play to abet the problem. Did we take any steps to check this? 
        There have been several instances of once prominent paddy field becoming fallow due to want of water and moisture. Many water logged fields that maintains rice based ecosystem almost no longer exist. Many lunga lands become fallow and non-productive to paddy and other crops. 
         The reason is water. Water crisis and less moisture in the soil have finally led to land become fallow. Of course, reason of these impacting changes would be many to list as said. However, now the point is water crisis and how to over come the situation?
        The ongoing saga of farming, productive land turning to fallow and non suitable should be the agenda. 
          There are multi various agencies or departments which in fact look after the matter. Hopefully, they would come with desired techniques and solve all these recurrent problems. 
           However, there are many things that we encounter in day to day lives but do not make it helpful upon application of mind. Take the case of rainwater harvesting and its conservation!
        Has anybody could tell the mindset of the people about abundant rainfall? Have anybody thought of its conservation for future endeavor? 
          There may be people to think for it but by and large it is not so by many. We consistently fight for; we hear a lot about drinking water crisis, leave alone your field moisture stress. It is evidently in public domain in every year. 
         There’s drinking water crisis, but, once monsoon sets in, we tend to forget everything. This is the case with farmers too. It would be prudent to blame farmer alone for their ignorance. Even our intellectuals minds fail to realize to foresee the problem and take proactive steps to check this natural loss. 
         The last resort to save the precious resource is by preserving rainwater and checking the run off loss. It is fact that in every year, we receive good amount of rainfall due to prominent south west monsoon and less dominant south east monsoon.
           In India, leaving few states and provinces, almost all states receives good amount of rainfall. 
         It is also fact that most of the rainfall is lost untapped and this lost is serious owing to the state of condition that is prevailing due to water. It would be unjustifiable to ever think of preserving even 10% of total rainfall.
        The lion share of total rainfall is to get released in the atmosphere for hydrological cycle to form and remaining 10% is quite enough in terms of total water that could be stored and used for future endeavor. 
         Let’s think for 10% of the total rainfall for conservation for future utility and farming endeavor. 
         However, this fraction of share of rain water conservation would not be possible if general people and farming communities do not realize the very concept and conceptualize for the future. 
         This 10% of rainwater conservation target should be step by step and phase by phase involving all people either directly or indirectly associated with the concerns for water conservation, and its subsequent utilities. 
                                                 Let us save rain water.

                                                Agritangkol dated 31.08.2012

Thursday 23 August 2012

Awareness Needed For Rainwater Harvesting: Part-I

No rain, moisture and water scarcity are the few words that haunts every body at particular time in every year.
Standing crops in the field become retarded, stunted and drying up in absence of soil moisture. Crop field cracked up due to excessive moisture stress in many localities finally lead to loss of crops in the field itself.
   In Tripura, Boro paddy, wherever cultivated with balance moisture often fail to flourish in long dry spell. As location specific, the most affected crop is Boro Paddy. 
  Of course, there are plethora of other crops too that being grown with preserved moisture also suffers the same set back.
  However, months’ agony and anxiety for water and water scarcity quietly ends once continuous rain takes place in monsoon. The rain brought out by the south west monsoon is the main that influences the farming pattern in the state. 
   Of course, it will again depend how uniform and well distributed the rainfall is. But, this time there is fear for drought like situation in many states due to rainfall deficit.

People not yet realized:

   Well, this water scarcity and its suffering is not new to the people and farmers of the area. But what they do not realize is how to tackle this often recurrent problem most effectively and efficiently.
   This is recurrent problem in every year and causing lot of problems to the people especially associated with the farming.
    A good part of cropping time is wasted due to the moisture stress in that particular period of time.
  There’s less sensitization amongst the people around the concept of rainwater harvesting and water preservation. People in general have little knowledge in Rainwater harvesting systems and their subsequent usage in farming and other domestic usages.
  In the village level, there is not much observation on this concept except “water pond “a way of water conservation for dual purpose of fish rearing and domestic usages.
   Other than this, there’s no such activity to help conserve Rainwater and water resource for future utility especially for farming.
    Actually, the knowledge and realization in the aspect of water preservation and rain water harvesting system is not understood by most of the people.
  As a result, huge quantum of precious resources is lost untapped. Had the system been in place, there would have been many aquifers by recharging the ground water table in the need of time.

Departmental Approach:

    There is couple of departments that deals directly for ensuring water supply and conservation structure. These departments explore and spread the concept of water harvesting structure in different areas of the state. 
     This is to improve the situation through construction of rain water harvesting systems and also providing rain water collection systems.
     But, matters of the facts are the results of these departmental endeavors were less than enough in field level. The activity observed in the rural area is construction of lunga bundh, pond, and development of water shed and water harvesting structure in the catchments areas.
  However, there seems to be less participation by the people who actually needed this. Here, again, the lunga bundh constructed has not been considered as the structure for rain water harvesting or water preservation or conservation structure.
      It is (lunga) rather considered more for creating side income through fish rearing and also meeting other domestic water usage. Of course, in other way round, it is correct to a certain extent.
    As a result, the purpose of very rain water harvesting remained in the lack luster condition. Therefore, the very concept fails to find a good path of popularization among the target groups. 
    When the target group fails to realize the given concept then its popularization becomes difficult and time taking.
Tripura bestowed with good topographical condition:
   In the given topographical condition and rainfall pattern, Tripura could easily hold a place for creating a sizeable quantum of rain water harvesting and water conservation structures. Why because? You have lots of accessible site that could easily be converted into good rain water harvesting structure. 
   Say for example lunga lying areas, water streams in the catchments areas, these are the places of natural site that could easily be converted into water harvesting structure.
   This could be useful in the long run for crops cultivation in the catchments areas. In other areas where there is less chance for assured irrigation facility in the near future also holds good for the system. 
    But that has not been happening till date. However, departments are implementing projects, but participation by the people is must for achieving desired result.
   People do realize that water is also one of the main constraints in crop cultivation and subsequent farm profit. But coming with alternative and effective mechanism in dealing with the recurrent problem is the point that requires really a great deal of work. 
   Although, there’s realization for water but knowledge for tackling and tackling proactive action is not seen.
  Well, it is already hard fact that increasing irrigated area is becoming near impossible due to several intervening problems. And, now, the existing water resources are also drying up in the given situation increasing more area under irrigation in future would pose big problem.
    In the situation this, there would be much more problem in future for water crisis. If the situation is not dealt in the time, it may further accelerate the problem

Involvement of people:

    Simply, one sided motivation will not help in improving water health in the state. The state receives fairly good amount of rain fall during monsoon and in pre-monsoon too. Nevertheless, water resources, like major rivers, streams dams, lakes (natural and created) dries up during the prolong dry spell. 
    This dry up situation is encountered from the month of January to April in almost every year.
   “Water shortage was anticipated in the Palatana power project too, news reports that the company has already taken steps to create rain water harvesting structures for avoiding any such problems in future. 
     The power company which is about to start generating power in a couple of month’s time is said to have allotted a share of fund for creating rain water harvesting structure as media reports”. And this is the actual water scene in the state and it how worrying it is.
     All these prevailing conditions should be eye opener for all of us to learn and behave rightly for dealing with the situation for greater benefit of the people of the state.
    The first and foremost thing that requires immediate attention is the people’s realization. People should know how to tackle the situation to their favor and utilize precious rain water resource effectively. 
   This is really needed for future betterment, farm operation & other human needs.
      The time has come for us to spread the water harvesting concept to the remote of the remotest region and create awareness among the people about the importance of water conservation and rain water harvesting for secure future.
    However, awareness and real field level implementation should go hand in hand for realizing the real field level result through mass participation.

    Agritangkol dated 23.08.2012         

Friday 17 August 2012

Non-Seasonal Vegetable Crops are demanding but fears and myths associated should not disapprove the endeavor.

          These days of course not considerably but to a certain extent, few progressive farmers earn substantial money through growing and selling of non-seasonal vegetable crops.
     We know or forced to know or compelled to know that there are crops whose growths depends on specific season.
     Season; that is distinctive from other in terms of temperature, day length, precipitation and relative humidity of course, there are crops which really depends strictly for their successful growth and life cycle.
    We, as a part of our understanding know vegetables like cabbage, Cauliflower, Tomato and many other beans grows specific to certain season and climatic condition.
   So, as usual these crops are grown as winter vegetable crop (except few varieties of bean or as the case may be). But that is not being the case all the time.
   There are instances where cabbage and tomato used to be grown round the years defying the season and climatic sensitiveness.
   The scene had been eye witnessed in the Karnataka where even in places like drier region there used to be green cabbage plot. And, tomato field with ripened tomato.
   In Meghalaya state, many cool and winter vegetable crops used to be found round the year. Of course, Meghalaya especially Shillong and adjoining areas are considered to be under temperate gone which supports the growths of cool and winter vegetable crops.
  Therefore, Meghalaya used to feed winter vegetable crops to a certain extent to the neighboring states of north-eastern India.
   The specialty  of  growing non seasonal vegetable crops are for more price realization and this is happening due less supply so is more demand and finally good economic return of the vegetable growers.
   Earlier, and even these days also, during the month of June-July, some cool and winter vegetable crops from the Meghalaya used to be found in the state capital and other places.
     But now, one positive indication is, you get to find, produce of Tripura too. That is to say that some farmers from Tripura also started cultivating the non-seasonal vegetable crops during this hot summer.
  They grow Cabbage, Cauliflower and Capsicum. Result, unexpected price due to spike in demands. Farmers are earning money to the maximum. These non-seasonal vegetable crops are fetching good market demand so is premium price compare to other traditional time of growing these types of vegetables.
    This is happening due to the fact that people in the summer season; you have little choice but to stick to limited types of summer vegetables.
     This is quite less significant compare to winter season where you get varieties of vegetables so you have much more choice in selecting the crops to be grown and changing the taste preference too.
    But, there are also apprehensions, fears and phobia on non-seasonal vegetable crops or for that matter any such product which are found beyond their known characteristics.
  People sometimes consider non-seasonal vegetable is bound to get maximum pest attack so is more chance for exposure to hazardous chemical pesticides and finally residue level.
  People also consider it just show off because you only spend money but do not get any substance.
  But many assumptions seem to be myths because in case of pest and disease incidence what is ought to be happen is; many primary pest depending on primary host plant (winter vegetable in this case ) will not be available during the summer season so is less prevalence for pest incidence.
   However, reverse may also happen but non-seasonal does not simply amount to more risk as far as exposure to chemical pesticides or as the case may be.
  There are several instances for growing of vegetable crops in controlled condition in hi-tech green house. 
   Earning extra pie maintaining all possible parameters would be much appreciated in the time where farmers are in search of more profitable avenue.
       Agritangkol dated 14.08.2012

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Increasing farm Income through Sericulture.

    Tired of searching good source of income! But no sign of improvement in economic status, it is declining rather what to do? 
    An acre of upland farm field, till date only being used once in a year depending on the south west monsoon, good monsoon – means; a paddy / rice crop of subsistence. 
    Otherwise! Fallow, fallow or may be rarely vegetable crop on experimental basis or Rabi Oilseed Crops. But not for profiting, it is only to occupying the space available so is this endeavor of no motive and profit. 
   Have you thought of other way round to best utilize the limited land resource for maximizing the returns? Do you ever foresee to take these initiatives in your one acre upland form field? 
  1. Intensive vegetable cultivation 
  2. Cultivation of cash crops 
  3. Cultivation of non-traditional crops 
  4. Cultivation of fodder 
  5. Mulberry cultivation for sericulture activities. 
     What do you think about silkworm rearing or sericulture? Have you ever tried silkworm rearing? If not, farm owners have every right to try sericulture within his / her existing farm resources. The basic necessary necessities are as follows: 
  1. A good and well maintained Mulberry field 2. A well ventilated silkworm rearing house/shed 
  3. Silkworm seeds and other basic necessities 
  4. Knowledge to handle silkworm larvae and their proper nourishment. 
    Success in sericulture would heavily depend on supply of nutritive mulberry leaves for feeding to the silkworm larvae. A well maintained mulberry field to the area of one acre would not only supply nutritive leaves but also ensures numbers of times silkworm larvae can be reared so is number of times green cocoon could be sold in year. 
   Worried for mulberry cultivation! Well drained, fertile land with irrigation source (for maximizing the numbers of crop per year) and also land which receives good sunshine is enough.
     You have enough expertise in raising or growing crops; mulberry would not much differ from other crops except perennial in nature, timely pruning, manure application, irrigation and fertilizer application. 
    Need for further help, don’t worry there’s sericulture department out there to help you to supply quality mulberry saplings or cutting and other for your mulberry cultivation to come up. Contact and get help from sericulture department of the state.
     Plan to start mulberry cultivation by the month of March with land selection, land preparation, manuring and coincide planting of cuttings by pre-monsoon rain or best by July coinciding monsoon rain.
  Collect the cutting/saplings from the sericulture farm of the state sericulture department where, you would get quality and good and high yielding verities of Mulberry selection or varieties. 
   In the meantime, see whether you have well ventilated house/shed which would be pre-requisite for rearing of silkworm larvae as and when mulberry plantation is ready with sufficient leaves in the field.
   Scarce of money! Shortage of money for investment! Construction of mud wall silkworm rearing shed is not that costly. 
      Some helps in this regard is not ruled out from the department which is in all out effort to popularize the sericulture so is incentives for raising mulberry plantation to construction of mud wall house for silkworm rearing shed.
    So, there’s possibility you receive some incentives in the form of cash or kinds for construction of silkworm rearing shed. 
    In the meantime, collect all the essential things for up coming rearing start of silkworm larvae. You need to collect / procure the followings: 
  a) Silkworm rearing tray 
  b) Rack for keeping of silkworm rearing tray 
  c) Mulberry leaves chopper knife 
  d) Chandrike 
     Confused! Nearest help centre is ready to give you every tips you require including exact requirement of above listed items. Support staff of sericulture department is on field visit during mulberry cultivation time to silkworm rearing period.
   They are there for your help, for your solution. Just contact nearest support service, service will be at your door. 
  In the first season of mulberry cultivation, first leaf harvest would take nearly six month to attain harvesting stage of mulberry leaves. Keep your mulberry garden free of insect pest and disease and stop application of chemical product one month prior to the silkworm rearing. 
  Finally, the time for first silkworm rearing time would come by the end of September or the first week of November. November is winter month in Tripura.
    First, batch of disease free laying (DFLs) or silkworm seeds would also be supplied by the department, at cost factor, it is not much, sometimes in the beginning of your sericulture endeavor, you will get certified and quality silkworm seeds in affordable rate from the sericulture department. 
    Rearing of young silkworm larvae up to the stage of second molts is highly sensitive with respect to surrounding weather condition and quality of tender leaves that is collected from tip leaving first two to three leaves. 
   Newbie sericulture sometimes finds its difficult to manage during this particular time therefore, government department facilitates this stage in their departmental farm which is called Chawki rearing centre, after this stage, this young silkworms larvae are supplied to general sericulture farmer for rearing.
   You are about to harvest your first cocoons within forty days of rearing of silkworm. Sericulture would employ the following: 
  a) Farm women 
  b) Household women/ men 
  c) Rural unemployed youth (if) 
  d) Ensure subsidiary activity around sericulture. 
     So, you got your crop by a month. Judge; what are other crops that ensure returns by a month. Worried for selling green cocoon! Don’t worry again; there is assured cocoon collection centre by the sericulture department.
    The department purchase green / dry cocoon from the farmer in fixed price. 
     You would not realize your farm income in the first year; it is in second year onwards that you would receive continued income. It is not difficult to raise 4 (four) cocoon crops in a year.
   Remember; for that to happen, you should maintain a good mulberry field for meeting the leaves requirement round the year. 
    Your income is insulated with sericulture. Just take initiative and increase your farm income. In the later stage; you can also rear selective breed which yields higher cocoon and produce quality silk like Bivoltine that could be reared in the autumn season. 
   For now; cross breed Mulberry silkworm can be reared being hardy, quite high yielding and higher adaptable to the local weather/ environment. 
                                                                     Agritangkol dated 14.08.2012

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Bamboo Shoots Promising: Bamboo Resource is declining.


a. Bamboo Shoots as vegetable:-

    Bamboo shoots; this is plenty in the market. Bamboo shoots are available during the month of May to July in every year. This is because bamboo shoots season coincides with the monsoon (even starts with the pre-monsoon rain).  
    It is plenty because; it has a good market as a vegetable item like any other vegetable crops.
 Decades ago, bamboo shoot was found exclusively in the menu of tribal people of the state however, this has changed now. That is to say that earlier it was mostly concentrated within certain section of population of the state.
   But, in last one and half decades have seen rapid changes in terms of taste of the people so is demand. It is rapidly becoming acceptable by almost all people of the state.

b. Remunerative price for Bamboo shoots:-

  This acceptance has led to the market demands and demands led to the remunerative price of the bamboo shoots. In early season; bamboo shoots fetches highest price in the range of the sixty to seventy rupees per kilogram and same is the trends in the later part of the season that is in the month of August and September.
   In the peak extraction season or time bamboo shoots which usually happens in the month of June and July prices stabilizes to the twenty to thirty rupees per kilogram of the bamboo shoots.
 This demands for bamboo shoots and remunerative price has led to the over exploitation of the limited resource. Poor people or forest dwellers in the run up for good returns have frequently extracted the bamboo shoots for marketing in the nearest markets.


a. Bamboo shoots preference affected negatively:-

     This sudden spur of demands due to change of taste has ultimately caused a negative influence in the growth of the bamboo resources of the state.
    It is learnt that huge fund has been spent in the state for improving the cane and bamboo resources through their cultivation under different schemes.
    But in terms of resource creation, it has not been up to the mark. Some blames that all these are due to the destruction of bamboo at the initial stage of formation or growth in the form of extraction of bamboo shoots.
    Looking into the huge quantities of Bamboo shoots at the market, it is well assumed that thousands of Bamboo is perished in the process of collection of bamboo shoot for vegetable purpose in the state.

b. Restriction mechanism to safeguard Bamboo shoots:-  

   Many assume that it is primarily due to unscrupulous extraction of bamboo shoots that bamboo resources conservation and preservation is taking time. Even though there’s reported to be certain restriction for selling of bamboo shoot by the concerned department of the state but fact of the matter is; it is still sold openly in the rural and urban areas of the state.
   It is of course, not known whether people especially those who are involved in extraction of bamboo shoots were aware about the prohibition of selling of bamboo shoot by the Forest department or not.
  But looking to the availability of the bamboo shoots in all markets of the state, it seems that there is nothing like restriction on extraction and sale of the bamboo shoots in the state.

c. Other factors that influenced on Bamboo resources

  But there are several other bamboo based activities people take with the available bamboo resources of the state. There was the golden time for the state because of her rich artistic bamboo based products and Tripura was once considered a state of bamboo crafts.
  As a tradition, there are still people relying on the bamboo based cottage industry through making of hand crafted bamboo items. Government estimates, more than lakhs of people are still depending on the cane and bamboo for their livelihood.
   Bamboo as a matter of fact has been used in several items like bamboo fence making, bamboo incense stick making and many other items to name here.
  Some people rely on selling of matured bamboo, some rely on the finished products and some extract the bamboo shoots at the initiation stage.
   There is also rampant clearing of jungle so is bamboo for establishing other orchard or plantation crops. These are also affecting the over all bamboo stock or resources of the state.

d. Schemes to improve the situation:-

   There are many schemes to revive the Bamboo resources in the state that has been implemented in the state. There are Forest department, Bamboo mission, JICA and agriculture department that have been looking after the bamboo resource creation but despite all out efforts result/outcome is not so visible.
   Some people points that it is due to the failure of the control mechanism that Bamboo is floundering in the state
  Awareness campaigns are said to be conducted in the local level for creating awareness amongst all stakeholder for effective utilization of the bamboo resource however, looking to the abundant
  Bamboo shoots in every markets, frequent campaign, teaching and imposing certain restriction become imminent for checking the unscrupulous extraction of bamboo shoots and also the matured bamboos.

Bamboos as Natural Balancer:-

    As a forest species and component of forest ecology, bamboo maintains good and harmonious forest environment so is suitable climate in the particular place. That is to say that, bamboo species plays an important role in maintaining good environment.
    Therefore, to preserve this useful forest resource, every stakeholder should act according to the established guidelines of the government thereby ensuring the proper growth of bamboo resources in the state.
    State Government is pursuing to increase the Bamboo resource by helping the people financially for bamboo plantation/cultivation, people should also come forward and help in the process for reviving this use forest resource of the state.
   Tripura due to her soil & climatic condition is fortunate to have huge numbers of bamboo species and many species have been identified and promoted for cultivation in different areas.
    All these efforts are being planned and designed to help the people and help them to come over from the poverty but recent trends of people is seeming to over utilize the bamboo shoot or bamboo resources which should be stopped otherwise, the very agenda will remains as un-fulfilled agenda.


   Bamboo at the crucial juncture of dwindling farm income has bright future on consideration that it has multiple demands as mentioned below:-
  • Bamboo shoots as vegetable,
  • Bamboo for handicraft items,
  • Bamboo for incense stick making,
  • Bamboo for bamboo fencing and other domestic uses and
  • Bamboo for other industrial products
    In Tripura, bamboo based value addition has been set and to be operational very shortly which would require huge raw materials for meeting the plant. That means there is a good prospect for bamboo in terms of demands and price.
     Now the best advice would be to try this hardy and easy to maintain species in large scale for realizing the future demands and economic returns.
                                   Agritangjkol dated 24.07.2012

Monday 23 July 2012

Revive Pineapple cultivation; Rubber may an economic activity but we should not make it alternative to pineapple.

Decline of Pineapple and Inclined for Rubber:-

    Rubber is stalling the growth of the pineapple! Pineapple is in the stage of crisis due to rubber! This is because rubber plantation is most sought after and it tends to be every where in the state.
    The last few years have seen substantial numbers of pineapple orchards having been encroached and finally disappearances. It can be apprehended that if same trend continues in future then pineapple will be a scarce item in the state.
   It is not that the initiatives are not taken by the state but despite several initiatives in improving the condition, there are no visible improvements. In the pursuit to improve the condition, considerable amounts is being spent however, number of new pineapple orchard is not increasing as anticipated.
     As a result, in the last decade the total pineapple orchards in the state are actually declining as many orchard owners converting their orchard into Rubber plantation.
   Now, there are reports that farmers are planting rubber seedlings in the pineapple orchard, keeping the pineapple in the field itself.
   What happens is; once the rubber seedling is planted in the pineapple orchard then perhaps that is the day for disappearance of pineapple orchard as decline and decay of the pineapple orchard would starts from the same day itself.
   Of course, like previous years, during this year also pineapple was produced in few parts or region of the state but again it is apprehended that within few years most of the pineapple orchard may be in danger as it may be converted into rubber plantation. 
  Pineapple orchard is encroached and it is happening quite rapidly (In my locality, one farmer who used to maintain pineapple orchard, no longer has the pineapple orchard as he had converted the same to the rubber plantation).
  So, there is rapid decline of pineapple orchard, people and even the concerned department is also worried.
   This is the fate of the Pineapple of the state. Although qualitatively and unit production wise, years ago pineapple Tripura has earned a good name in all India level but struggling now for existence in the race with rubber.
   In the rural areas, although still Jackfruit and Mango trees are still seen in the home stead land or near home estate but pineapple orchard is heavily affected because this is used to be maintained separately as an orchard.
   Rubber after having encroached all the accessible areas /lands is actually in the spree of spread in more areas naturally is eying even other fruit orchard too. In earlier days, people used to maintain fruit orchards like Mango and Jackfruit but those are almost history now.
    Some are critical to the state that there is no plan and programme for reviving and improving the growth of the pineapple. Their argument is; there should be favorable atmosphere in terms of marketing of pineapple fruit and pineapple cultivation is insulated in the state.
  In some ways or other, their worry and anguish may be right. This is because, rubber although it has no direct market in terms of consumption is still demanding and popular and almost all raw material is transported to the outside state for further processing etc.
  Whereas, pineapple, a popular fruit even though it has sizeable consumers in the local areas is still struggling for existence. This is happening due to the lack of processing and marketing strategy.  
   Although there are processed or finished products of pineapple in the market but most of the products are brought here from outside. In terms of processed product availability in the local market, share of the state product is very meager.
   Pineapple processing and creating marketing avenues are some of the pre-requisite for sustainable growth of pineapple sector in the state. In fact fruit processing had long been felt by the state, and as an initiative to utilize the fruit produce of the state a fruit processing plant name NERAMAC was started in Nalkata under Dhalai with branch office in West and Sepahijala districts of Tripura.
  But those fruit processing plants are either not fully functioning or closed and this has affected the pineapple growers. This has led to the crash of the pineapple price during peak production season. All these factors have had negative influence in the mind of the pineapple orchards.
  Few years ago some initiatives had been taken to set up fruit processing plants in Bhodhjung Nagar industrial but as on date there’s no news for operation of this fruit processing plant.
 The places like Betcherra, Nalkata,Darchawii, Mohanpur, Bishramganj,Melaghar and Sonamura which were the prominent places for pineapple production in the state but pineapple growers of those areas have slowly shifted their focus from pineapple to the rubber plantation.
   Now what you observe and find is most of the pineapple orchard with rubber seedling.

Why decline of Pineapple and increase of Rubber:-

    Some of the reasons that are assumed to be acting against the growth of the Pineapple of the state are as follows:-
  • Due to decline in average unit production,
  • In the pursuit to become quick rich, pineapple growers are converting their own pineapple orchard into Rubber plantation.
  • Due to sluggish demand during season, growers do not get fair price for pineapple produce.
  • In absence of processing plants, price of pineapple falls during peak production season i.e. during the month of June and July.
  • No export/marketing opportunity in the neighboring country Bangladesh where there is good demands for pineapple fruit.
  • Lack of cheap labor resource forces farmers to venture into viable options.
  • Farm labors shifts to the non-agricultural activities and also inclined to the MGNREGA.
  • Farmers feels pineapple do not provide continuous flow of income like Rubber.
  • Farmers’ feels rubber plantation is comparatively less burdensome after a period of six to seven years.
  • Farmers do not see any suitable alternatives in terms of marketability and profit other than Rubber.
  • Marketing outside the state is also not conducive due to several factors like transportation, rate and demands etc.
      These are the few reasons farmers have shifted to the rubber instead of sticking to the pineapple orchard. As a result there is increase in the area rubber but pineapple is under stagnation or rather in declining stage.
      Now, at this particular time season for Kew and Queen Pineapple are almost over and another type of Pineapple, Kalanga is in the market. But, there’s no story like earlier days of producing Kew variety of pineapple weighing seven to eight kilogram per fruit.
        Now, there is hardly any sizeable pineapple of that kind that has been observed in this season.

    How to revive the olden glory:-

  • Creating awareness amongst the growers for crop diversification through cultivation of fruit crops like pineapple.
  • Creating awareness amongst the growers and rural people for set up pineapple based cottage industry.
  • Training of growers/rural for making of jam and jelly of pineapple fruit.
  • Facilitates the marketing of the products.
  • Facilitates setting up of mini processing plants in the rural area.
  • Reviving of fruit processing pants already set in the state.
          Agritangkol dated 23.07.2012

Saturday 21 July 2012

Papaya; popular fruit and vegetable crop in Tripura

       Papaya, the locally known Kokiya, Kuwaifal, Pappa/Pepe is most predominant fruit as well as vegetable crop in every household of Tripura.
    Everybody, young or old either knows about papaya and its healthy properties useful for stomach ailment and, for vitamins supplement.
   In the market, you would get to see more number of green papayas than that of ripened papaya. Green papaya is prominently meant for vegetable purpose and papaya’s use is most prominent for vegetable purpose than that of fruit purpose.
  This is specifically true at the present condition in Tripura.
   Ripened papaya are sold in fruit shop that too in few number that is to say that number is astonishingly low compare to other popular fruits like Apple, Mango and other seasonal fruits.
   This may be due to the taste and preference by the consumer and people at large. But, there is strange thing that is observed in the rural area of the state. The point is where do all these papaya fruits comes from? Is it from solo papaya orchard or from homestead land?
  It is strangely seen that almost all papayas are produced from homestead orchard. There’s hardly any noticeable mono or solo papaya plantation in the state. This is really a strange as per as farmers as well as state’s perspective is concerned.
  The rate of papaya per kilogram is really competitive and profitable too. In the prevailing market demands as well as rate of papaya, it should have attracted farmers to take up papaya cultivation in their farm land but alas! It is not the case in the state. Nobody is taking up papaya at large scale.
  Papaya being vegetable as well as fruit crop has very right position in the heart of the people but what it lacks are mass popularization for large scale plantation. This may be achieved through awareness and good extension mechanism
   If ever taken up in the plain land (high) it would have definitely fetched good market demands as well as market price. In the time, where farmers are struggling for profit, this papaya would definitely come to their rescue in terms of farm profit and farmers would have greatly benefited.
   One of the important thing to note here is; papaya will not require anything exorbitantly in terms of input requirement, what it requires are the same thing like other crops that farmers are usually taking or using in their field for growing crops.
  There are many local as well as improved varieties of papaya available in the state; some of the improved varieties like Coorg honey Dew and California Wonder which are doing very well as far as production in the unit area is concerned could nicely fit the present need of the farmers.
   Moreover, planting of papaya seedling is also quite easy and their survival rate while transplanting in the main field is also quite satisfactory.
   Finally; what we need at this hour is; move on and move forward with the papaya. You have land, market and, what further requires is little extra risk to start with crop papaya.
         Agritangkol dated 10.07.2012