Unconventional Apple Farming Brings Fortunes to Farmers in Manipur
“Seasonal fruits gave very less profit while apple farming is profitable business because of its high demand. Many people visit farms and are interested in Apple farming. Our products are sold even before it reaches the market. ” said Shyamchandra Meitei, Bishnupur, Manipur.
HRMN 99, a low chilling apple variety has helped farmers by increasing their revenue. Earlier, only seasonal vegetables were grown by the farmers of Manipur and these are the low-value products in the region. NIF’s intervention of introducing HRMN 99 low chilling apple variety in the region proved to be a boon to the farmers of the region because apples are more valuable and income-begetting products. In 2017, HRMN99 apple plants started bearing fruits in the farms then the news had gone to every nook and corner in the state. Local people have visited the farm and hence they became interested. Until 2021, HRMN99 apple plants were planted in the village by involving more than 200 farmers. Further, it is being planned to expand the plantation area up to 60-hectare field area. Farmers from nearby villages and from different districts of Manipur have shown interest to take up apple farming.
The farm products are being sold directly from the farms. Now, arrangements are being made for nursery development for other farmers with the help of Manipur Property Bank. Along with this, intercropping of various other crops with the help of women of the region is also being practiced and is generating more income opportunities to the community. Because of Science and Technology, the community is now well-versed with basic techniques and protocols to start apple farming and is ready to help fellow farmers to take apple farming in the state. The farmers community is hopeful that Manipur will be included in the map of Apple growing states of the country. Thus, dependent on apple fruits import from other states like Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh will be reduced up to some extent. This is also good for the climate change crisis that the world is currently facing.
NIF has provided them with encouragement, infrastructure development and technology. However, there is still a need for infrastructure and machinery tools in the region. The community representative Shyam Chandra is a motivation for the rest of the community because of the CM award he received and his paddy patent.
Community Members - M Shyamchandra Meitei (Bishnupur), L. Indrajit Singh, L. Ibochouba Singh (Imphal East), Y. Lokendro Singh (Kakching), YureichanJajo (Kamjong), Manipur, participation facilitated by Laishram Y Khuman