- By NET Web Desk
After leaving a lucrative job in Gordon Max, in Singapore, Awungshi Shimray Augustina came back to her home at Poi village.
In the year 2019, Madam Soso Shaiza, former member, National Commission for Women (NCW) told Augustina about a workshop on Apple cultivation was organized by the North East Council, sponsored by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) in an attempt to reach out to Northeast villages to experiment a pilot project of apple cultivation. Villagers from Shokvao, Hungpung, Lunghar, Talui, Muirei, Poi among others went and attended the workshop on apple cultivation at Himachal Pradesh.
After several failed attempts to cultivate the plant in the region and overcoming many unfavorable factors, such as climatic conditions, two years later, Ukhrul saw its first harvest of Apples.
It practically changed the people’s perception in the district and Northeast towards apple as a cultivable product in the region. Over the years, Manipur and Mizoram are now seeing good quality and quantity of apple yields.
In April 2019, Augustina planted 55 saplings of which 52 survived. From the produce of 210 kilograms of Apple, she harvested 130 kilograms this year and 70 kilograms is yet to be harvested, said Augustina.
Another lady, Ringphami Thingshung from Hungpung who was in the same training group as Augustina got a decent amount of yield. She planted 90 saplings of which 85 survived.
Augustina explained the tedious process and care she took while planting the saplings. They were planted in virgin soil mixed with pig manure extremely rich in nutrient density. Exposure to maximum sunlight is another important factor to be looked for while planting the saplings, she added while speaking to Ukhrul Times
Dorsett Golden and Anna, a variety of apples are suitable for the climatic conditions so far and are sold for Rs 200 per kilogram said, Augustina. She also added plating of two more expensive Red Fuji saplings and Green Spurs which did not bear any fruit.
Augustina has inspired many local farmers to expand farmland to attain marketable quantity, but the high demand for manure, fencing, manpower and crucial mechanism to make the product more commercial-friendly is still a concern.
With high demand for Himachal apples across India and abroad, the apple economy in Himachal runs in Rs 4000-5000 crore, according to a report in The Statesman.
For Manipur hill districts farmers, relying on rice, pineapple, and banana products, the pilot project of apple cultivation comes as an additional economic boost. Today good quality apples are being sold for Rs 2,500 to Rs 3000 per standard box (20 kilograms) in Manipur mostly imported from Moreh.
(The Story was originally published in Ukhrul Times)