Traditional organic farming in Meghalaya has yielded a better strain of the magic spice turmeric. The missing link was the technique to provide the best product for the market. See how this has been achieved now. It has been proven over and over again that the Meghalaya variety of organic turmeric is superior to similar varieties around India. It is not just the state’s traditional organic farming methods that make it special. It is also the special genetic strain of the spice with higher curcumin levels that make it a unique and healthy product.
In India, more than 70% of rural households depend on agriculture as their primary means of livelihood. Combined, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, account for one-third of India’s GDP, making them the largest contributor (13.9%, 2013-14) to the country’s economy. With numbers like that, it is no wonder that government schemes for farmers abound, which provide a large platform to expand and grow the agricultural sector along with its allied sectors.
Much has already been documented on the agricultural reforms in Northeast India while at the same time discovering the hidden agricultural potential of the region. From entrepreneurs to business firms and explorers alike, agriculture, as well as the rich biodiversity of Northeast India, has remained the subject of widespread interest and discussions.
As India develops digitally, do you not wonder whether small farmers are benefiting too, from technology? After all, a largely agrarian economy, agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58 per cent of India’s population. And, 81% of them are small and marginal farmers with holdings of less than 2 hectares. What do you know! Looks like there is an initiative to use digital technology to help farmers and that too in the Northeast of India!
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.
We recently met with Mr. Barry Syiem, District Horticulture Officer, South West Khasi Hills, Mawkyrwat who gave us valuable insights into his work. We were introduced to Mr. Syiem by none other than his brother Professor Don Syiem of NEHU!
While many of us are coming to realize that horticulture in Meghalaya has great potential, how many know that the state is home to a number of excellent organizations that support agricultural and horticultural activities? One such is Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA), which was set up in March 2013 to implement the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme (IBDLP) of the Govt. of Meghalaya.
Research is not an end in itself, especially when it involves farming and the livelihoods of marginal farmers. It is a social cause to start with, and an economical cause as its end. And to such an end the benefits of research needs to be reached efficiently and quickly.
North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), with its beautiful 1225 acres campus in Umshing, Shillong, is a pride of not only the Northeast India, but the country itself. Established in 1973, the move to a new campus happened only in 2005. Right from the beginning it has been quietly establishing itself as an Institution of higher learning and research of very high standards.
Mr. Canning Shabong is passionate about agriculture and not just because he is a senior officer in the Department of Agriculture with over 20 years of experience in this field. There seems to be a further calling, which is evident when you read his informative blog posts on the GOM website.
On a recent visit to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Meghalaya, our group was told that Northeast India is organic by default. This means most small farms have never used pesticides or fertilizers. Farmers are still using traditional methods of farming. Old fashioned farming has become a strength.
Aarohi was founded in 1992 and started a livelihood promotion program as part of their development initiatives. This organization has brought changes to the people of Uttarakhand and its initiatives have made a significant impact on 57 villages. They are producing apricot & peach body care products, culinary herbs, herbal teas, and fragrant potpourris. They teach farmers how to grow the ingredients, process, package & sell via e-commerce and through 67 retail outlets in India. They also encourage small scale organic cultivation of 17 varieties of herbs that will grow in the cool climate of the Himalayan foothills. They teach the small scale farmers how to a)grow organically b)harvest the product c)store it safely d)market their products & e)Packaging and selling herbs for cooking, herbal tea as well as potpourris and fragrance. You can buy their products at Aarohi.org. The site is beautiful, full of information and a role model to many. Learn about the government schemes to help farmers. Download ebook. They have smartly started 30 Farmers Clubs. These groups discuss how to create more income by learning about new techniques and technology, improve marketing and make connections. This looks like a great organization. Visit their website and you will discover that they do a lot more. I only touched on the things related to agriculture, natural products and social entrepreneurship. Read about ICAR, another innovative organization we have learned from.