Saturday 4 February 2012

Ginger; it is exceeding the Achievement Target in Tripura but where’s the Market?


                Once I had a chance to taste sweet ginger the value added product during my short training program in one of the premier management institute of India. One of the trainees from Mizoram state had given that value added ginger product which I still remember but now, with this post I’m here to elaborate how ginger is fairing in the state Tripura in terms of production and subsequent marketing.
              Ginger, it is considered one of the spices here at Tripura; it has varieties of usage in the society. The main usage being the non-vegetarian food preparation, of course, ginger is also used in varieties of Ayurvedic medicines which we find in the market.
             Ginger, many of us consider as indicated above for culinary preparation either vegetarian or non-vegetarian but most prominently in the non-vegetarian dish preparation.
Other than the aforementioned usage, there’s hardly any visible activity around ginger or ginger produce in the state Tripura.

Present trends in ginger production:-

            Ginger in Tripura is quite age old and traditional as far as importance and acceptance by the people of the state is concerned. It is available in all house hold for culinary preparation or for medicinal purpose.
           State agriculture department of Tripura is seriously pursuing the popularization of ginger cultivation in economic scale for increasing the economic status of the people. In the Economic review-2006-07, state has achieved the specific objective in increasing the total area of ginger cultivation in the state.
       Of course, there’s production variation or constraints due to several agronomical factors associated with the cultivation of ginger cultivation in the state.
           The main issue with the ginger in the state Tripura is; it is yet to come to the main cultivable land for its cultivation. It is still cultivated in the sloppy land/upland or Jhum in the state.
          The main ginger cultivation at present is concentrated in the north Tripura districts particularly in Jampui hill. In jampui hill, people are cultivating the ginger in the sloppy Jhum, in fact Jampui produces considerable share in terms of total ginger production in the state.

Marketing avenues for ginger:-

         There are no definitive marketing avenues for the ginger in the state Tripura. At present, ginger is sold in the retail in every market however, the contrasting aspect of the matter is; ginger is available in all market but how the produce is sold is the main theme I want to illustrate here.
          There is absolutely no bulk purchase in the market. Of course, the exception is when whole seller purchase from the producer otherwise, in the market, ginger is in demands for 100 to 200 grams by almost every intending customer in the state.
        That means, there is risk factor involved in the marketing of the ginger in the market. Any farmer venturing hugely in the ginger cultivation in the state would compromise his/her economic stability with the present bulk demands in the state.
           The present situation of course, it can be plainly said that it is well placed with the present state of production because market is not ripe to dislodge any extra at this prevailing condition.

Creating avenues for value addition and processing of ginger:-

         The climatic and soil condition of Tripura is highly suitable for ginger cultivation, it can even sustain in any kind of soils of Tripura. The people of Tripura have the advantageous position in terms of awareness in cultivation and production techniques of ginger.
         Now the time is to explore how to tap the ginger market; ginger produce in the state should have the facility to feed in various usages in bulk by concerned processing agencies but these agencies are yet to exist in the state.
       The first and foremost thing, the state should do is to pursue for set of different value addition center and, a mechanism to ship in other state for sale. Until such time, the condition of ginger in the state would not flourish. 
         However, once the proper avenues are in place in state Tripura, there will not be much needed persuasion for attracting the farmers for ginger cultivation in the state.
   Agritangkol dated 04.01.2012 at 5.00 P.M

Thursday 2 February 2012

Coffee the ecological crop may flourish in the forest predominant state Tripura

          In the earlier post titled’ Coffee cultivation in Jampui hill”, some prevailing conditions in the state of Tripura had been elaborated.
          Now, let us see the crop in the perspective of total forest coverage of the state and its suitability in the forest ecosystem.
         In the economic census-2006-2007 of Tripura, it was indicated that in Tripura more than 60(sixty) per cent of the total geographical area is under forest. Now, like elsewhere, the objective of the forest department is preserving, conserving and expanding the forest coverage in the state.
         Of course, how we fair in the aforementioned objectives are another aspects which I’m not going to elaborate here.
         My objective of the post is; there are certain crops which could be grown without much disturbing the forest ecosystem. Economically speaking, coffee is one such crop which is considered “ecological crop” because or otherwise, if coffee is to come up in particular area; forestry should precede the activity of coffee cultivation.
         That means, forest species should be in place of the designated place for coffee plantation; when forest and coffee can co-exist, there will be minimum ecological imbalance for growing coffee cultivation in any place either forest land or fallow land.
         Now coming to Tripura perspective, it is as already indicated above, Tripura is the forest predominant state and forestry is one such area that is inevitable for all places whereas, earning few extra pies without disturbing the ecological balance of the forest would be highly appreciated and acceptable by the people of the state.
           In the present perspective, coffee cultivation is concentrated in the Jampui hill area of the state however; this can also be introduced in many more areas of the state because of physio-climatic condition of the state. The physio-climatic condition of the state is suitable for the coffee growth so is coffee cultivation in the state. Another aspect, being the hilly state; maximum hills are above 300 meter mean sea level, which is favorable for coffee cultivation in any place.
          The climate of the state is subtropical with few pocketed temperate region which otherwise could sustain the coffee cultivation in the state.
           But, it is not being happening till date due to several factors which are acting otherwise distracting the popularity and increase of coffee cultivation in the state.
Diversification of farm is one of the important criteria for increasing the farm income of a farmer, therefore in the pursuit to increase the farm income; state government may pursue the coffee cultivation in the state with twin objectives; 
         one, maintaining ecological balance and 
         second, earning some extra income through coffee cultivation from the potential areas of the state. However, these objectives will be fulfilled once the following conditions are ensured
         • Like rubber, state government may come forward with specific objective for coffee fraternity.
         • A nodal department of the state government may be formed to look after the coffee scheme apart from Coffee Board, India.
        The time has come to take proactive step to explore the every explorable areas of the state for better resource utilization and benefit of the people in economic prosperity. The people of Jampui Hill have already seen the success and profit by producing coffee from their plantation and this should be the case of success story in the state.
    Agritangkol dated 02.02.2012 at 6.30 P.M

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Poultry and other Meat products: A check is must before being bought.

          Tripura, a small state under north eastern India constitutes huge quantum requirement in terms of daily consumption of non-vegetarian products like poultry product, mutton and pork etc.
        The demand of these products is perennial due to maximum population of the state preferring for non-vegetarian products. But, being popular does not mean every thing is in place and note worthy. This is very important as far as quality of the products sold / available in the market / locality is concerned.
         Let us take into the account the present spate of condition as to how these products are sold in the market.

       • Poultry Bird: 

        Sold in whole bird / dressed and as per requirement of the customer. The intended bird is kept in a cage which is in fact most un-hygienic and intended bird is also smeared with faecal matters in the cage.
         There is no mechanism to know whether the intended bird is healthy and disease free by the customer / consumer in the marketplace.
        In most of the cases, these dealers do not have proper place to keep their product in safe place to be free of disease causing micro organisms. These lacking results in contaminations of poultry and other meat products with susceptible microbes present in the faecal matter and un-hygienic source at market place.

        • Pork: 

         Pork is one of the most demanding meat in the state competing neck to neck with the mutton in terms of demands, popularity and sale price it fetches. But, what is the condition and where it is being sold is matter of fact to be examined.
       The fact is there is no regulated place for selling of this product (in maximum cases), Pork stall is in abandoned / outskirt area where, it doesn’t meet its due looking to the demand and popularity it supposed to receive.
          Although, it is competing with one of the most popular non-vegetarian product “Mutton” but looking to the product through prism would give otherwise and definitive picture of its possible contamination with different micro-organism which could pose heath risk to the consumer.
          Here also consumers are in dark due to want of proper facility like quality in terms of presence of different microbial causal agent that could have been verified before being sold in the market.

         • Mutton: 

          Till date, there is no parallel of mutton, it is considered to be safest one in terms of quality and purity of the product. This is due to the fact that people while looking into the every aspect that is; very rearing stage to food habit of the animal and keeping condition of animal in herd considers mutton as qualitative product.
      Another aspect is; goat being clean animal by nature has also been taken into the consideration for judging the quality of the meat. It is perhaps due to such reason; mutton fetches highest market price in the state market.
         But fact also that, the way animals are bled in the market, condition of shed does not suit to be maintaining good quality due to overtly chances of contamination and getting the products being spoiled due to unsafe condition.

Rearing condition of Poultry Bird / Pig and local Hen/Fowl in the state

        Now, if we take a look of keeping of these animals and birds that is since rearing stages of these birds / pig etc possibly, we may find many steps which are rather susceptible steps that begins from rearing stage of these birds & animals. 
        Poultry birds deserves and considered to be the most cared birds amongst all due to the fact that they are reared / kept in special enclosures having many facilities like rice barn floor, regular concentrate feed, water, medicines and light etc.
     It apparently looks to be qualitative care from the part of the farm owner but how many farm owner keep proper density of bird in a given space is most import and how often liter from the poultry farm is cleaned.
          Because, irrespective of all deserving qualitative approach by many, it is where many deadly disease breaks out which further spread to other area.
       Therefore, hygienic and sanitation maintenance are the condition that supposed to meet the qualitative earmark for producing safe and healthy poultry bird which is safe for consumption.
          Similarly, local fowl / hen; it is free, it moves in every accessible area surrounding the place where it is reared. In the process of non-restrictive movement, there are always possibilities for getting contamination with disease causing micro organisms.
      This is the reason, many a times local fowl is subjected to different disease most common being the Raniket disease which is quite prevalent in the state. Therefore, local birds; many people try to outsmart to prefer for local bird instead of poultry considering taste, texture and quality which are actually not wholly true but mixed with myth.
          Another most demanding and popular source of non-vegetarian product; the pig in the countryside is kept in most pathetic condition. Pigs if kept in enclosures are in good unhygienic condition and those in the open means subjected to contamination with various parasites, germs etc due to its omnivorous feeding habit and self keeping condition / self cleanliness of the animal.
         It is only in the Government farm, pig gets good place to live and good feed to eat which is very rare in case of country side rearing by local people.
       Pig feed; although pig is considered for conversion roughage into nutrient / nutritious product but the fact is; they are given some of worst feed to grow for marketing.
Possible health risk / danger of un-hygienic meat and non-certified meat
        “Where demand matters, quality scares” but, there are genuinely many people who apprehend the danger in consuming suspicious and contaminated poultry, mutton, pork etc that are being sold in the market.
         People apprehend for Taenia solium in case of pork but, no way to ensure the product is free from such tape worm or not. Of course, there is also Swine flu which is not reported till date in the state but there is still apprehension for sale of meat from disease infected pig.
         Similarly, the spate of condition of poultry processing (normal) is quite un-compromising; everything is mixed up and there lies every possibility for health hazards due to consumption of contaminate products.
         People of the state are safe till date; may be fortune enough due to the fact that there is no any un-towards reports due to consumption of such product that exist every where in the market.
         Another most noticeable and contrasting picture is none other than egg of local duck; how filthy it is smeared with faecal matters. It sometime does not look to be real egg, it resemble something like earthen ball.
         Till now, people overlooked because their objective is only egg not quality. It surely would transmit health deteriorating micro organism to the human body causing health threat to the consumer.

Steps to check the situation:

        People, particularly those who are associated with live stock farm should be very much careful in dealing with possible contagious disease and knowledge of managing the situation.
         The ongoing bird flu sought in the state should be the eye opener to all with special perspective to the affect, it causes to the concerned farm owner and possible health danger to the consumer and people in the affected area or zone.
      Of course, clubbing the matter with the ongoing aspect may be inappropriate but some ways or other, sanitation, good hygienic condition matters in preventing the disease to the farm animals.
         Media reports that culling of birds which has been continuing since last 3(three) days from 27/01/2012 to 29/01/2012 may require some more days to take a stock in the situation.
         Media report indicated that “Since last 3(three) days, 5825 nos. duck, hen (poultry & local) had been culled. Compensation to the tune of rupees 1, 07,501.00 had been paid to the affected people. 
        Since beginning to of culling of birds in 4(four) villages near Lembucherra, poultry bird, duck & pigeon had been killed in following dates;
27/01/2012 - 1,979 nos. Duck, Hen and Pigeon.
28/01/2012 - 3,332 nos. Duck & Hens.
29.01.2012 - 515 nos. Duck & Hens.
       And, feed of poultry & duck of 12,500 Kg had been buried as preventive measures.
Now, with this bird flu onslaught, there would be void like situation in the affected zones/areas because to restart, it would take some more time in compliance with the mopping procedures in the areas. 
        Therefore, two aspects that is; animal health and its subsequent affect on the consumers should be areas of concerned and should be looked into.
While at this prevailing condition, there would not be any rapid development in term of qualitative improvement.
        But, people’s awareness should be awakened in greater interest and this should be carried by anybody not necessarily only the state Government; any voluntary / non-Governmental organization for educating people of the state from dive consequence, it could one day bring to the people of the state.
        Another aspect, of course, this would take some time is meat processing plant. To come up a full fledged meat processing plant, it may require to have all business pros and cons which the state may not afford in the prevailing condition but state may come up with some regulatory mechanism wherein, at least product intended to be marketed goes through proper check / certification for ensuing safety to the consumer.
        Safety and good hygienic condition should be maintained in different poultry and duckery farm, all the farm should kept away from any possible contamination of disease causing organisms.
    Agritangkol dated 30.01.2012 at 10.00 A.M

Sunday 29 January 2012

Bird Flu, the Avian Influenza: It is here again in Tripura.

Bird Flu is here again:

          After reading the news of bird flu resurgence elsewhere in the country, I was suspecting that the bird flu virus would one day re-appear again in Tripura. In reality, it has stuck again in Tripura. On 25.01.2012, sample of the suspected bird sent to the central laboratory at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has come out with positive result of having this virus. 
        That means bird flu virus has stroked in the ICAR Farm at Lembucherra, west Tripura district which is very adjacent to the capital city of the state Tripura.
         The confirmed test report has also been sent to the central Government, the centre is said to have advised the state government to take all precautionary measures to check the further spread of this virus.
         ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), Lembucherrra farm keeps the stock of poultry birds (birds of different species) has reported the suspected death of poultry birds at the farm, subsequently, sample of which had been sent to the central bird flu testing laboratory at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh for ascertaining and confirmation of causal agents of such suspected death of poultry birds in the farm. The result is; the bird flu virus has again stroked in the state like before in the recent times.
         In earlier post titled” bird flu the avian influenza in the closer periphery to attack” , I had mentioned that this deadly virus as already mentioned had appeared in the neighboring regions so, Tripura might not be immune to the attack of this virus however, it was not clear what corrective measures had been taken by the state Government due to the fact that this virus had almost come to the periphery of Tripura through which it seemed it could easily gets transmitted to the state affecting the birds of the regions.

Affect of repeated appearance of bird flu in the state:

         Repeated appearance of bird flu virus in the state has pushed the poultry farm owners in the sidelined condition. People (directly or indirectly) associated with poultry industry in the state have been greatly affected due to this onslaught.
          Poultry farm owners are the direct casualty for this repeated appearance of this bird flu virus in the state; in this whole onslaught, their whole products is destroyed causing irreparable damage to the resources created and economic despondency which could resist them in future endeavor with the poultry business.
          People associated indirectly with the poultry business through selling of poultry products gets affected due to the prolong gap of business restoration after the massive onslaught.
         Consumers of the state are also affected due to such affects that has been happening repeatedly in the state, they are subjected to high market price on going alternative to the poultry products like mutton, pork, local fowl etc. During such times, this product gets an exceedingly highest price which is beyond the reach of the many in the state.
         Some businessmen who sales the poultry products from other regions otherwise disease free poultry products also faces the market onslaught due to the fear of the people to the poultry products, in such time there is less preference to the poultry products which ultimately affect the poultry dealers.
         “Poultry market in Agartala area looks to be deserted, peoples’ orientation towards poultry birds is exceedingly less and now, inclination is towards mutton, pork and local fowl which fetches or their market appreciation is noteworthy; mutton sales in rupees three hundred and eighty per kilogram, pork sales in rupees two hundred and twenty per kilogram and local fowl sales in rupees two hundred per kilogram”.

Reaction of the state government:

          On confirmation, the state Government has taken every possible step to check the situation under control. The state Government has formed fourteen numbers of rapid action team to deal with the situation. 
          The three kilometers radius areas surrounding the Lembucherra area has been earmarked by the state Government to cull all the birds; hen, duck, pigeon etc in the area for arresting the spread of bird flu virus in adjoining areas.
         Culling of birds within three kilometers areas has already begun covering Lembucherra village, Balaram Para village, Sipahipara village and Senapatipara village. In these villages, it is reported that all the birds (whether suspected to be infected or disease free) have been killed and buried by the rapid action team as part of the preventive measures undertaken by the state Government.
        In addition, eggs have also been destroyed for checking the spread of virus in surrounding areas.
          The state Government has earmarked the ten kilometers radius areas where all movement of poultry products and sale of poultry products have been banned. It was also reported that culling of birds would be undertaken within this next zone (ten kilometer radius areas) in second phase.
         The feeling of the people who actually witnessed the steps undertaken by the state government as part of the preventive measure is that “ the teams have been culling the birds irrespectively without looking into whether the particular bird is disease free or already infected with the virus, villagers apprehend that in the next three to four month, there would be no local fowl in the villages and prices of any if comes up within that period would be exorbitantly high whereas in the upcoming month there follows many traditional festivals like GARIA PUJA , a traditional occasion of the indigenous people of the state”.
         The state Government is offering compensation to the affected people of the areas whose birds have been culled in the process. The amount is quite low as far as time and money spent for growing these birds either in the poultry farm or in the village level through local fowl are concerned, however, as the matter is for safety and security of human health any positive steps matter.
      The compensation amount as indicated in the media (reflected below) are said to be in conformity with the guidelines of the central Government.
        • Local fowl of less than 10 weeks of age= rupees twenty per bird
        • Local fowl of more than 10 weeks of age= rupees fifty per bird
        • Local duck of less than 10 weeks of age= rupees thirty five per bird
        • Local duck of more than 10 weeks of age= rupees seventy five per bird
        • Poultry chicks(small)= rupees twenty per chick
        • Poultry bird(big)= rupees forty per bird
        • Egg , rupees two per egg
        • Poultry feed= rupees six per kilogram

Reason of outbreak of bird flu in Tripura:

         While reason of repeated appearance of bird flu virus in the state is not known or declared as on date by the state Government but the matter of the fact is; it is quite impossible to find out the actual reasons for such appearance and reappearance of bird flu virus in the state. This is for the fact that this virus has the distinction to appear repeatedly in other regions or countries too.
          However, prevention should be the main motto in the future challenge that could repeatedly chase in the state causing the losses to the poultry farm owners and villagers of the state. 
          As already mentioned in earlier post; movement of poultry product in the state is very intrusive and it is for the fact that the poultry products can come to the state through interstate boundary to the international boundary therefore, along with the conscious of the state Government, people of the state should be very much careful in dealing with this situation.
        The state government may also evolve an effective mechanism in all such entry points for regulating the entry and exit of infected commodities as the case may be.
            Another aspect is; depending every time in central laboratory would not result good things therefore, state should have such infrastructure in place to deal with such situation in time.
    Agritangkol dated 29.01.2012 at 2.40 P.M