Saturday 7 January 2012

Squash Cultivation in Jampui Hill of Tripura


      Squash, a cool crop has finally made its root in Tripura. The state government in agriculture department has successfully created interest in the mind of the people of the Jampui hill to take the squash cultivation in their land quite successfully and economically.
      Squash is crawler species which is said to be thrived best in the cool climate and in screened sunlight condition. In Tripura as the climatic condition of Tripura is hot and humid climate leaving one area that is Jampui hill a bit cooler place has sustained the good cropping in the state.
     In Tripura, in earlier cases, squash used to be brought from the nearest state of Meghalaya but now -a-days there is a fusion of both Meghalaya squash and Tripura squash in the market.

Present scenario of Squash cultivation in Tripura

     At present squash is cultivated in the Jampui hill in the sloppy terrain but it has not been explored in other places due to single biggest factor of climatic suitability. It is believed that the squash is suitable in the cool climate so leaving behind the Jampui hill, all other places in Tripura are bit hot and humid this is owing to this reason that this squash crop is not yet tried in other places of Tripura.
     Nevertheless, squash could also be tried in the similar hill region like Lontharai, Sakhanthang, Sermon and Atharamura region which are bit cool compare to other places but not similar to the climatic condition of the Jampui hill.

Future Prospects of Squash Cultivation in Tripura

     Squash crop in Tripura shows promising due to the fact that it has lots of demands in the market. People of the state consider squash as healthy and nutritious. Ailing people also prefer the squash due to easy digestive nature and other nutrients that contains in the squash fruit.
     In Tripura squash is used as vegetable in whole culinary preparation and also used in boiled condition by health conscious people. People of the state consider squash as qualitative vegetable to boost the health of recently treated patient.

Governmental Promotion for Squash Cultivation in Tripura

    The state government in agriculture department is promoting the squash cultivation in the state. In their first phase of implementation, the agriculture department has started the scheme with the Jampui hill where they has made it quite successful adoption by the people.
     However, same is yet to materialize in other places of the state. The state government in agriculture department should pursue the matter in other places for bringing the sea change in the implementation and adoption of the squash cultivation in the state.
    This squash cultivation is fairly profitable in the state due to demand and supple situation. Moreover, as is evident from Jampui hill, its cultivation and acclimatization in that area is quite successful.

Marketing aspects of Squash in Tripura

    Marketing aspect of the squash cultivation in the state is posing little anxiety to the squash farmers of the state. This is due to the fact that communication from Jampui hill to Agartala and also in other places is quite problematic. It is therefore suggested that a good chain of transportation management should be devised by the state government in agriculture department.
      Proper communication strategy in terms of transportation of the squash product is the need of the hour for thriving squash cultivation in the Jampui hill. As the produce is quite successful in terms of its acceptability and demands in all regions therefore Marketing Avenue should be opened in other areas for earning profitable income by the squash farmers of the Jampui hill.

Challenge in Squash Cultivation in Tripura

      At present the main challenges in squash cultivation are as follows:-
        1. Increasing and economic scale cultivation of squash in Jampui hill and elsewhere.
        2. Spreading the concept of squash cultivation in other places of the state.
    3. Marketing aspect of the squash products should be explored in all places for harnessing the, market potentialities.
    Agritangkol dated 30.12.2011 at 10.00 A.M

Thursday 5 January 2012

Coffee Cultivation in Jampui Hill of Tripura


      Finally Coffee! Yes. Coffee has made its home to Tripura at Jampui hill during the years 2002-2003. It has finally been implemented with the financial assistance of tribal welfare department and technical know how of the Coffee Board, India.
     Coffee Board, India also provided subsidy amount to the coffee growers based on the size of the coffee plantation. 
      Now the coffee plantation has reached to the bearing stage and people of the Jampui hill had already sold their products in consultation with the Coffee Board. Initially,  Coffee Board had helped to sale the clean coffee to the nearest Regional Coffee Research centre at Kolashib, Mizoram.
     Now, it is heard that people of the Jampui hill had started selling their produce to the nearest state like Assam in the cleaned coffee.

Reason to start Coffee Cultivation

    The reason for taking up of coffee plantation was started or initiated by the Coffee Board, India that is Coffee Board India has recommended that Jampui hill can sustain coffee plantation due to its inherent soils and climatic condition.
     Based on the recommendation of the Coffee Board, India, the state government in tribal welfare department had initiated the coffee plantation proposal in conformity with the tribal welfare scheme.
     Initially, 150 families had been selected and brought under the scheme at Jampui hill covering Tlakshi, Hmanpui, Vanghmun, Belianchip, Subual and Phuldongsei. The Coffee Board, India had started their technical advice starting from seed bed preparation to the planting stage.
     Their relentless pursuit in consultation with the state tribal welfare department had brought the smile to the gloomy face of the Jampui hill people who had just been reeling under the suspicion due to destruction of their primary bread earner the orange orchards.

Place to Start Coffee Cultivation

  Initially Jampui hill and Sabroom subdivision were selected for coffee plantation under settlement scheme of government of Tripura. Accordingly, the scheme had been started with these two places accordingly. Of course, there are other existing plantations maintained by the Coffee Board in the state.
     In addition, Coffee Board, India had also visited many other places for finding out the suitability condition for coffee plantation in Tripura however, that could not be ascertained due to various factor like availability of shade trees and land status of the particular place and people’s acceptability etc.
    The department of Tribal Welfare considers the coffee scheme at Jampui hill as successful one due to successful implementation in terms of survival of coffee seedlings in the site and subsequent earning from the coffee plantation.

Sentiment of the People

     People of the Jampui took a sigh relief at the crucial time the where they were very worried for their farming future due to onslaught of orange orchards at Jampui hill after the mysterious appearance of disease that wiped out several orange plantation in Jampui hill.
     This approach by the state government has helped the people of Jampui Hill particularly the beneficiary who had been selected for the coffee project to come out of the acute financial shortage in term of employment and in come source in the hilly region where these are very difficult to get.

Technical Guidance

   Technical guidance for coffee plantation had been taken over by the Coffee Board India, government of India. The board had time to time visited the plantation sites and given the every nuances of the coffee growing to the beneficiaries.
   The tribal welfare department government of Tripura also helped financially and provided constant help to the beneficiary for time to time operation of coffee plantation as per the advice of the Coffee Board India.
      In addition, the Coffee Board India also provided marketing tips including harvesting and processing of green coffee berries to the beneficiaries in the Jampui hill.

Financial Assistance

   Financial assistance in the form of schematic amounts and subsidy amounts had been paid to the beneficiaries by the tribal welfare department and Coffee Board. These financial assistance had been released in phased manner time to time based the specific requirement for coffee plantation as suggested and advised by the Coffee Board, India.
     The tribal welfare department had also acted based on the recommendation of the Coffee Board for ensuring that the coffee plantation comes up successful in the Jampui hill.

Marketing Avenues.

   As far as marketing of the product produced from the Jampui hill is concerned, the nearest marketing point is at Silchar, Guwahati of Assam state and Kolashib of Mizoram state. In India the main trade centre for coffee in India is in southern region that is at Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
     The people of Jampui hill take the help of kolashib, Mizoram for marketing of their produce being the nearest point of Marketing Avenue moreover, in Kolashib; there is regional Coffee research centre of government of India.
     It is from Kolashib, the processed coffee beans are marketed to elsewhere in India however, and there is no independent marketing body that is yet to come up in the region due early stage of exploration of coffee in this region.

Future Prospect

    Though it is too early to predict the future prospects of the coffee plantation in Tripura but there is no denying that people of the Jampui hill had already started reaping the good harvest and return from their coffee plantation.
     At present, total coffee plantation in the state is approximately 317 ha out of which Arabica coffe-268 ha, Robusta coffee 49 ha. Out of the 317 ha coffee plantation, 194 ha (Arabica coffee) and 15 ha (Robusta coffee) are in bearing stage.
    However, the total coffee production in the state is only 23.00 M.T (clean coffee) out of which 20.00 M.T from Jampui hill.
   There have been reports that coffee growers of Jampui hill are pursuing for coffee bean processing machineries with the financial assistance of the government for increasing the clean coffee production in the Jampui hill.
      The Coffee Board, India had already recommended the Jampui hill Tripura suitable for coffee plantation taking into the consideration of the climatic condition, soil fertility, topographical condition and many others as is required for coffee plants to grow successfully.
    Coffee! Awareness of coffee is restricted only in urban areas (in Tripura), let it spread and known by all.
    Agritangkol dated 30.12.2011 at 10.00 A.M

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Banana Cultivation: Problem and Prospects in Tripura.


     Banana is probably the most established fruit crop of Tripura like Jackfruit, pineapple and coconut etc. Banana is one such fruit crop that could make its existence in every homestead land of rural and semi urban areas. It is in fact one such fruit which is perennially available in the market in all places of the state.
     This is the fruit most loved and adored by the people of the state due its various usages in different purposes in every household starting from table fruit to worshiping purposes and vegetable/culinary preparation.

Traditional Varieties of Banana

    In Tripura, there are several varieties of Banana, of which three varieties of Banana as indicated below are prominent:-
1. Champa
2. Sabri
3. Kachkola
     The first two varieties of Banana are cultivated for fruit purposes and the remaining one for vegetable purposes. Of the two varieties meant for fruit purposes, Chamapa is most popular in terms of its availability followed by the Sabri.
    The Sabri Banana is considered as most tasty and fetches higher prices compared to the Champa Banana. However, production of Sabri Banana is not considerable compared to Champa Banana.
   Similarly, Kachkola is also not so available round the years and it also fetches better prices due to production constraints and supply curve.

Cultivation Practices

     Banana cultivation in Tripura is still traditional and age old practice; generally, Banana cultivation in Tripura starts from the month of March and ends in the month of June/July in the year. In Tripura, Suckers are planted in well prepared pit in the designated land. Usually, upland/hilly and sloppy land are the places where Banana is cultivated.
   The trend is; Practice of Banana cultivation in the lands of other cultivable crops is rare; Banana is mostly cultivated in the Homestead or other vacant lands. Of course, now-a-days, a small scale plantation in plain land could also be observed in Tripura but it is yet to pick up.
    As far as selection of seedling is concerned, suckers are preferred for plantation purposes; usually sword suckers which are advisable are used in new plantation. However, many times due to the shortage of sword suckers, water suckers are also selected for new plantation.

Present Trends

   At present, Banana cultivation and production scenario could not considered as most preferred and profitable farming activities. Although, there is concerted efforts for promotion of fruit crops cultivation in the state but the picture is not encouraging.
    Banana cultivation in many places actually declined due to switch over in other non-fruit crops in the state.
    Due to decline in plantation and its subsequent affect of production, Champa Banana which used to be available in cheap rate until ten years ago has increased in manifold in terms of price.
      More over, the quality of Banana fruit that are available in the market are also not up to the mark and it is due to lack of good cultivation practices which ultimately resulted in less yield and poor quality of Banana fruits.
     In Tripura, there is also peculiar tendency for not applying any nutrient supplements to the plantation, whatever has been produced was depending on the fertility level of the soil. If the soil is fertile and virgin then good harvest otherwise yield is stagnated over the period of time.
   Banana farmers do not follow the package of practices of Banana cultivation; everything is depending on the inherent soil fertility and climatic condition for the Banana plantation.
     Another tendency of Banana farmers of the state is; re-plantation of old and existing Banana plantation. The practice is once planted and established; Banana plantation is not rejuvenated with new seedling and soil nutrients supplements.
      These tendencies have led to the decline in over all production of Banana. Many insect pests and disease causing pathogens have found niche host for their survival and growth which ultimately threatened the old and existing Banana plantation of the state.
Tissue culture, another widely successful aspect in other states is also in dormant stage.      
     Although, tissue culture lab is reported to exist in the state but any activity and improvement in terms of production of Banana plantlets though tissue culture for large scale plantation in the state is not yet to be observed.

Problems and Solution for Banana Cultivation

      The main problems of banana cultivation in the state are as follows:-

     • Mindset of farmers for homestead Banana plantation should change and large scale plantation in the suitable land should be explored in profitable scale.
    • Rejuvenation of old and existing Banana plantation should be ensured with new seedling after every two to three years.
      • Sabri Banana of the state should be explored for harnessing its market potentialities.
    • Local variety of Banana may be replaced with good and high yielding variety of Banana if required for realizing the economic reliance.
      • Tissue culture lab of the state should be revived and refurbished with an objective to produce Banana plantlets for popularizing the Banana cultivation through tissue culture seedlings.
       • Soil nutrient management should be ensured and good package of practices that is available with the department of agriculture should be followed for achieving the desired yields and profit from the Banana plantation.
   Agritangkol dated 17.12.2011 at 4.35 P.M

Sunday 1 January 2012

Bamboo Shoot: Promising Future in Tripura.

       You love it or hate it. You blame it or deny it, but bamboo shoot shows promising future in the state. Why? Take a tour below.

Introduction of Bamboo Shoot:-

     Bamboo shoot! Locally known as Moya, bash kurul, in Tripura, bamboo shoot is one of the important vegetable that fetches huge demand by the people of the state. It is one of the important delicacies of the people since time immemorial.
    Bamboo shoot is long associated with vegetable of the people and it is in the culture and tradition of the people of the state. 
     Its popularity could be eye witnessed during the pre-monsoon time to early post monsoon period in every year. During this time, market starting from up market of capital city to fur flung area is full of bamboo shoot and poses huge demands.
     The first harvest fetches huge prices, similarly the last season also fetch huge market price. During the season, forest dwellers earn a portion of their income through selling of fresh bamboo shoots in the local market.

Bamboo Shoot Season:-

      Bamboo shoot production coincides with onset of monsoon and it ends during the month of August of every year. That means the bamboo shoot production and harvesting starts from the month of May to August of every year.
    Production of bamboo shoot is plenty during the month of June to July when the states receives good and well distributed monsoon rainfall.

Bamboo Species in Tripura:-

     In Tripura, nineteen species of bamboo are reported, these bamboo species are mentioned below (Forest department, Tripura):-
        1. Barak (Bambusa balcooa)
        2. Bari (Bambusa polymorpha)
        3. Mritinga (Bambusa tulda)
        4. Muli (Melocanna baccifera)
        5. Kali ( Bambusa nutans)
        6. Paora (Bambusa teres)
        7. Rupai ( Dendrocalamus longispathus)
        8. Dolu (Neohzeaua dullooa)
        9. Makal (Bambusa pallida)
       10. Pecha (Dendrocalamus hamiltonii)
       11. Kailyai (Oxytenthera nigrociliata)
       12. Kanak Kaich (Bambusa offinis)
      13. Kanthi bans (Dendrocalamus strictus)
       14. Tetua (Bambusa spp)
       15. Ish (Bambusa spp)
       16. Jai (Bambusa spp)
       17. Bonbash (Bambusa spp)
       18. Sairil (Melocalamus compactiflorus)
       19. Bobai (Bambusa spp)
    Of these total species of bamboo, the following species of bamboos are prominent and preferred for bamboo shoot:-
       • Muli bamboo alias Uathui
       • Mrittinga bamboo alias Uandal
       • Barak bamboo alias Uasur
       • Uamilik etc
   After the onset of monsoon, all the species of bamboo produces offshoot and starts regeneration process therefore, during this time Bamboo shoot abundantly available.
     Bamboo shoot in Tripura is harvested in two ways one, when the shoot is in the position of growth before its growth above the ground level which is popularly known as MOYA HAKUTWI which is comparatively costly than the bamboo shoot which are harvested when they are in the stage of six inches to one feet above the ground level.

Popularity of Bamboo Shoot in Tripura:-

   In Tripura, there are three to four delicacies that are prepared with the use of bamboo shoots during the season. In addition, dried bamboo shoot is also quite popular in the state. These delicacies are Moya gudak, Moya Awandru, Moya Chakhui and Moya Baja.
     In Tripura, more than 30 per cent of the total population of the state prefers bamboo shoots in their daily menu during the season which poses lots of demands during the season. 
       In Tripura, there are huge markets for the bamboo shoots but the problem is; the people of the state are yet to taste the value added bamboo shoot products in the state due to lack of any processing industry. In addition, people of the state also do not have that opportunity to enjoy their tasty delicacies beyond the natural production time or season of bamboo shoot this is also due to the lack of processing plants of the state.
      In the adjoining states like, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and few other north eastern states also caters bamboo shoots for their daily delicacies.
    In Mizoram, people of the state have started innovative process of bamboo shoot processing for production of value added bamboo shoot products which are fetching good market value in the state.
     Bamboo shoot is in good demands in the south East Asian countries especially Thailand, Mayan mar and many other countries.

Exploring Bamboo Shoot for Value Addition:-

    Now the basic question is; what is the scope of bamboo shoots in the state? How long these traditional vegetable will last with the present perspective of bamboo availability in the state? Another question is; is there any scope for producing value added bamboo shoot product for ensuring to meet the year long demands of the people of the state.
    In Tripura, bamboo shoot is promising because, demands for bamboo shoot would continue, there would also be good marketing opportunity in the state as more than 30 per cent of the total population likes this delicacy.
   Since, bamboo shoot is seasonal but demands is perennial so, there is good opportunity for bamboo shoot based processing plants in the state that would cater the year long requirement and demands of the people of the state.
       Of course, there is another side of the story; bamboo species in the state is in declining stages due to various reasons like bamboo flowering, decline of over all forest so is decline of natural bamboo and unscrupulous extraction of bamboo by the people of the state.
      Therefore, reviving the bamboo resources in the state would be the first and foremost criteria before plunging in to the bamboo based any activity let it be the bamboo based value addition or bamboo shoot based processing plants. For tapping the bamboo based opportunity in the state, we should look into the followings:-
         • Reviving of bamboo resources in the state.
         • Encouraging the bamboo cultivation in the state.
       • Preventing the unscrupulous extraction of bamboo in the state.
         • Effective utilization of bamboo resources
         • Establishment of bamboo shoot processing plants
         • Production of value added bamboo shoot products
    Agritangkol dated 12.12.2011 at 01.47 P.M