Kiwi cultivation among other organic fruits production in hill districts of Manipur has been increasing in the last few years since the launch of the state government scheme—Cultivation of Horticulture Crops as an Alternative to Poppy Cultivation in Hill Areas. The scheme is expected to check the alarming increase in poppy cultivation in the state, and help improve the economic condition of the farmers and the state. As a part of the efforts, the state is exporting organic Hayward variety Kiwi to Patna, Lucknow and Indore for the first time with a planned target amount totalling 15 mt by November 15.
The first tranche of Manipur organic kiwi for Patna, Lucknow and Indore, India's biggest fruit markets, to be dispatched off on Sunday totals 1.5 mt.
In an exclusive telephone interview to the Imphal Free Press, K Devadutta, project director, Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), said the organic Kiwi fruits are collected from farmers located at Purul, Mao, Tadubi, Tungjoy, Toloi and other parts of Ukhrul and Senapati districts.
“If the big markets of mainland India become aware of the quality of organic Kiwi of Manipur then Manipur could become one of the major kiwi fruit producing states in the country,” the MOMA project director said.
Organic kiwi export to Patna, Lucknow and Indore will be a big achievement for the farmers of Manipur farmers, he said, adding that the launch of “Cultivation of Horticulture Crops as an Alternative to Poppy Cultivation in Hill Areas” scheme has resulted in increased cultivation of kiwi fruit in the hill areas in the last few years.
“Around 500 MOMA facilitated farmers are cultivating Kiwi in the last few years and MOMA is targeting to increase the number of MOMA facilitated farmers to another 500 farmers,” Devdutta said.
A Kiwi farmer can earn more than Rs 5 lakh in a season per 2.5 acres of Kiwi cultivation, he added.
Manipur has already exported 3 MT of organic Kiwi to Azadpur Mandi, which is one of the largest fruit markets in South East Asia in October.
“After learning about the quality of organic kiwi of Manipur, they are demanding more consignment of it,” Devdutta said.
The project director said that MOMA is prioritising to link with big markets of mainland India. “If a linkage is set with big markets, the government will take necessary steps that could bring benefits and welfare to the farmers of Manipur”.
He appealed to the farmers for a continuous supply chain of Kiwi fruits in order to meet the market demands.
The 1.5 MT Manipur Kiwi produced under MOMA will be flagged off to Patna, Lucknow and Indore with markets facilitated by Nahakpam food and Beverages, Freshies Fres Manipur at the office of MOMA, Sanjengthong, Imphal East on Sunday.
CEO of Nahakpam food and Beverages, Freshies Fresh Manipur, Shanta Nahakpam also told the Imphal Free Press, that the company collected the kiwis from different MOMA facilitated farmers at the rate of Rs 110 per kg, including the landing charges, and the packaging is done by the company.
“By November 15, the company is targeting to export a total of 15 mt of Kiwi… However, due to the high price in cargo transportation, selling of Kiwi in the market of mainland India will be a challenge for Manipur,” he added.
Stressing the need to maintain quality of the fruit and pointing out that the variety of Kiwi fruits to be exported are same as that are available in other parts of the country, Shanta said kiwi farmers in the state need to maintain standard quality kiwi production by grading the fruits at their respective farms.