Our journey began at 8:30 in the morning! On our way, we met a farmer ploughing his field, tilling his land for the new planting season. We stopped to have a short conversation with him.
"Being a farmer is very difficult, there are more losses than gain. The quality of the produce is more bad than good." He went on to say that he had no choice but to be a farmer, to be able to feed his family and for their sustainability. Hearing his view about being a farmer, one of our explorers explained to him about what Zizira is doing, to help farmers, by opening markets for them.
Hearing that, the farmer gave us an advice. "If Zizira is looking to source a produce for a product of yours, then please do thorough research on the weather and soil conditions of the location, for growing the produce. The quality of the output will depend on that".
We thanked him for the tip. We then continued our journey towards Mawsynram village. It took us 3 hours to reach the Mawsynram marketplace. As soon as we reached, we were all excited to explore and looked around for local undiscovered produce.
We explored every nook and corner of the marketplace and found 2 local produce that we did not know about. One of them is called “phanmluh”, unique and different to taste. It has a sweet and bitter flavor with a lingering aftertaste. The other one is called “sohliang”, has a nutty flavor and is perfect to eat it as it is.
Here is what we further learned about these rare produces:
Phanmluh is a sweet potato whereas Sohliang is a fruit similar to Sohphlang and it can also be eaten as it is. Phanmluh is rare to find and the only place we found is at the Mawsynram market. Not much is available, as farmers do not cultivate Phanmluh as there is no demand for it. Whereas, Sohliang is harvested from the wild and not cultivated. This too does not have a demand. But, the farmers are willing to go look for it in the wild forest if there is a market demand for the produce, of course, without harming the environment. Both these produce are not perennial. Phanmluh is cultivated in the month of March and harvested during the month of December and January. The Sohliang fruit ripens during the month of January and is harvested during the month of March.
We continued exploring and met two lady farmers who were selling their produce in the market. Kong Lee Hyrniewta has a farm of her own, where she grows sesame (Nei-leh), Tamarillo and Khasi red rice. The other lady farmer, Kong Phamblang Kynrang, has her very own black pepper plantation.
After we scouted the whole marketplace, we made a visit to the Block Development Office of Mawsynram. Here we met the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Mawsynram, Mr. P. Mukhim
While one of our Zizira team members was chatting with him, Mr. Mukhim noticed the words “Making North East Farmers Famous” imprinted on the T-shirt of the Zizira explorers. He immediately exclaimed that it was very good - what we were doing! We now see how this tagline is helping others understand the vision of Zizira.
Our short conversation with P. Mukhim was fruitful. He told us that he would gladly help us meet the Ri-war farmers, so that we can explain to them what Zizira is doing, and how we want to work with the farmers. We also met Bah Borlang Lyngdoh Nongrum, who maintains a farmers’ group called Secretary Ri-war Sepngi Farmers Association, Mawpdai. He was glad to meet us and was appreciative of what Zizira is doing to help farmers.
We then went on to visit a place called Mawlyngbna, to meet the village headman and the farmers of this village. This village was recommended to us by Kong Phamblang Kynrang, a lady farmer. The ambiance around this village was very quiet, almost as if there were not many people around. The reason was that all the men of these villages were farmers and were working in the fields. Only the women folks and the children remain back in the village. Unfortunately, we did not meet the farmers since they were still working in their fields, a few kilometers away from the village.
It was time for us to head back to Shillong where our facility is. Our short trip had to come to an end!
Hope you enjoyed reading one more of our explore and travel log. Team Zizira is always up and running to explore the less known territories of Meghalaya, looking for undiscovered produce with which to create natural, healthy products for our customers like you. And, we share our stories of explorations with our readers.
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