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In absence of cold storage facility, producing quality pineapples remains a challenge for farmers in Churachandpur

Pineapple growers of Bunglon and Khousabung in Churachandpur urged the authorities concerned to establish a cold storage in the area and renovate the inter-village connectivity roads in order to solve the problems facing pineapple farmers.

ByThomas Ngangom

Updated 27 Apr 2022, 4:34 am

Pineapple farm at Bunglon village in Churachandpur (PHOTO: IFP)
Pineapple farm at Bunglon village in Churachandpur (PHOTO: IFP)

 

For over 1,500 pineapple farmers of Bunglon and Khousabung villages in Churachandpur district, pineapples is one of the major crop and source of income since the last many decades despite other winter crops.

Bunglon and Khousabung are two villages located adjacent to each other in the hilly region of Churachandpur district around 30 kilometres away from Churachandpur headquarter. In most of the hilly area of the villages, pineapple farming is conducted, while in the plain area seasonal crops are cultivated.

The Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) has been reportedly assisting pineapple farmers of the villages with the aim to produce pure organic pineapples since 2018.

MOMA has also been giving various assistance to the farmers of various parts of the state to produce more organic products with higher yields.

Speaking to this reporter, the pineapple farmers of these two villages said that in order to produce bigger, juicier and better fruits, they try to avoid chemical fertilizers as much as possible.

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MOMA is acting as state lead agency of Manipur for implementation of Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region. It is a registered society under Manipur Society Registration Act, 1989, working under the Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Manipur. Its aim is to promote organic farming and related activities in Manipur state and has a vision to convert the maximum area of Manipur into chemical free organic zone by 2025.

In the previous year, the then BJP-led Manipur government, during its first consignment, exported 1.2 metric tonnes (MT) of pineapples to Gurgaon. The government had set a target to export at least 250 MT of pineapples to six different cities of India, including Gurgoan, Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Bengaluru (Bangalore).

One of the pineapple farmers of Bunglon, S Kampi Gangte, told the Imphal Free Press during a field visit to pineapple farms that with the adoption of a new method of farming, the farmers can earn more income as compared to previous method of farming.

“I have been carrying out pineapple farming for the last few decades. During the initial period the farmers used to plant pineapples with a wider distance between the saplings. But to increase the yield, a new method has been adopted, i.e., to plant the saplings closer to each plant,” said Kampi.

Pineapple farming is maintenance free and easy way to earn income wherein most of the farmers can run their family, he added.

However, planting the same crop (pineapple) for a long time has reduced the fertility of the soil and farmers have to now put in more efforts to maintain it, Kampi informed. And as most of the farmers have started producing fewer quantities of pineapples, they tend to use chemical fertilisers, he added.

It is said that MOMA has been giving assistance to pineapple farmers of the villages since 2018, which includes marketing of pineapple fruits, providing organic fertilisers and others.

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Kampi informed that if the fruit is big, then it can be sold at Rs 50 and above per piece and it is sold below Rs 30 if the fruits are small in size. As pineapples are the main crops and main source of income, better yield of pineapples is needed, he added.

He further informed that if they use organic fertilisers, pineapples take time to grow and bear fruit. So, in order to grow the pineapples faster, some farmers use a mixture of urea, potash and diammonium phosphate (DAP) with the least amount, said Kampi.

“Most of the customers do not want to buy small size fruit.  So, to make them equal in size (larger fruit) some of the farmers used chemical fertiliser,” said Kampi.

Kampi informed that in a season, a farmer can earn between Rs 60,000-Rs 80,000 by selling pineapples. As the prices of essential commodities have increased, farmers have started to get involved in other alternative crops farming, including tenant farming in the valley area, he added.

Meanwhile, Clover Organic Private Ltd had claimed earlier that the pineapples available in Khousabung and Bunglon are organic fruits.

During an interaction programme held in connection with ‘Two days Media Workshop on Role of Media on Organic farming’ at Bonglon, Churachandpur, one of the pineapple farmers told the media that they need more assistance from the state government and authority concerned.

The farmer said the pineapple fruits easily perish which became a problem to the pineapple farmers. The farmers urged the authorities concerned to establish a cold storage in the area and renovate the inter-village connectivity roads in order to solve the problems facing pineapple farmers.

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First published:26 Apr 2022, 2:25 am

Tags:

manipurpineapple farmingKhousabungBunglon

Thomas Ngangom

Thomas Ngangom

IFP reporter, IMPHAL, Manipur

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