In an attempt to promote different agricultural produce and to encourage the farmers of Ri-Bhoi district, the Eastern Ri-Bhoi Farmers Association (ERBFA) organized an exhibition and sale of agriculture, horticulture and Aqua cultural products in collaboration with the ICAR, Umiam, NEH Region on the 28th January 2016 at Kurkalang playground, Bhoirymbong.
Meet the Lady Farmers from Umktieh
So team Zizira took a look at the different stalls with fresh produce straight from the nearby farms. Interestingly, we came across three lady farmers from Umktieh village and there we started with our conversation. As per Santa Marry one of the farmers, Umktieh village has 32 farmers growing strawberry since 2002.
The farmers from the village formed an association called the Strawberry Association Umktieh which helps market the strawberries. When asked, what is the biggest hurdle faced by them, the answer was irrigation. “We farm and sell the produce in order to feed our family”, said Anjaleena Lyngdoh.
We moved ahead thanking them and continued to check out every stall and met with farmers growing various produce including turmeric, ginger, black sticky rice, Soya bean, broom grass etc.
How ICAR addressed the Farmers’ Issue?
The farmers also had a session with Dr. A. K Jha, Senior Scientist (Horticulture), ICAR NEH. Dr. Jha while addressing the issues faced by the farmers, said “The ginger and turmeric varieties from Meghalaya has been accepted by the global market and we should be able to meet the demands. We should follow organic and natural means of controlling crop infestation such as soft rot and leaf blotch in case of ginger and turmeric respectively. Soft rot of ginger can be controlled by organic seed treatment”.
Dr. Jha advised the farmers to use smaller and healthy rhizomes for planting which will in turn give better yield. Adding to this he shared other ways so the farmers could get better returns.
- Hot water treatment: for planting material, ginger to be washed at a temperature of 47°C which prevents fungal growth in the rhizomes.
- Storage: Ginger can be stored by laying a layer of ginger in an earth pit and then covering it with sand. Depending on the quantity, multiple layers of ginger and sand can be stored in a small area which acts as a natural cold storage facility.
ICAR Made Sure the Farmers Returned Home Well Informed
The event concluded with words from Dr. S. V. Ngachan, Director ICAR NEH, “Meghalaya is supplying high quality turmeric and large volumes of ginger to India and the world alike. We should follow organic farming methods to maintain the purity of our farms and environment. We are blessed with natural resources and there is no deficiency of water. We are also receiving enough rainfall even during winters. We need to go back to our traditional farming system, where we get fresh air, clean water and more nutritious food for consumption."
"Water is life and soil is the soul", Dr. S. V. Ngachan, Director ICAR NEH. The exhibition ended with Dr. Ngachan’s speech appreciating the farmers for showcasing their produce. Moreover, each farmer who participated in the event also received a pack of natural manure from ICAR.
Zizira is always on the lookout for similar platforms which promote farmers and their cause. So if you have a story to share, write to us and we will be sure to cover your story!