Once an Opium Producer, Arunachal District Grows Large Cardamom - The New Indian Express

Once an Opium Producer, Arunachal District Grows Large Cardamom

Published: 13th December 2013 10:20 AM

Last Updated: 13th December 2013 10:29 AM

Once a opium producer, Anjaw district in Arunachal Pradesh is fast turning into a producer of large cardamom, a sought-after spice.

Endowed with an ideal climate for the cultivation of large cardamom, Anjaw produced 150 metric tonnes of the spice with a financial turnover of Rs nearly 12 crore during the financial year 2010-11.

As large cardamom turned out to be the most profitable cash crop in the district, residents slowly discarded the cultivation of opium which had given them a bad name and a lot of unwelcome attention.

With the Horticulture Department supporting the farmers, altogether 2,300 hectares of land have been brought under cultivation of large cardamom, horticulture development officer T T Tai said.

"Farmers with small holdings earn a minimum of Rs three to four lakh, and a maximum of Rs 18 lakh annually,? a cultivator of the spice, Balemso Pul, said.

Horticulture officer R N Megegi said the cultivation of the crop had caught the attention of farmers and were showing a keen interest.

He said that of late they detected crop loss due to fungal infection, especially in areas like T?Pani, Metalliang, Bomna and Methumna in Chaglagam circle.

Recently, a team of scientists from the ICAR visited the district and suggested proper sanitation, nutrient application, irrigation and other measures to tackle the crop infection.

It was also found that large cardamom fields in the Watong and Hawai areas had been infected by a vector-borne disease called “Chirke”.

With climatic conditions and topography ideally suited for growth of cash crops like cardamom and kiwi, the panchayat leaders are now eager to explore more.

"Every house in this hilly belt has cardamom plantation.

What they need now is support from government," says Mama Miso, a young Zilla Parishad member of Hunli-Desali.

The tribal apex body of Mishmi community, the Cultural and Literary Society of Mishmi has launched an effective campaign in promoting the growth of cash crops instead of opium.

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