IMPHAL: Many people might consider it unwise to quit a profitable career in a metropolitan city, but Awungshi Shimray Augustina reportedly returned to her hometown (Poi) in 2015 after working as a manager for Gordon Max, a Singapore-based private corporation.
Farmers in Mizoram and Manipur were trained in apple cultivation as part of the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP), with the assistance of the district horticulture department and the district rural development agency.
Villagers from Shokvao, Hungpung, Lunghar, Talui, Muirei, and Poi, among others, attended a workshop in the year 2019 on an apple cultivation in Himachal Pradesh organised by the North East Council and sponsored by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in an effort to reach out to Northeast villages to experiment with an apple cultivation pilot project.
The positive apple production in Ukhrul district two years later would practically transform the way people in the district and the Northeast in general viewed apple as a commercial product.
Several attempts to cultivate the plant in the region failed due to various problems, the most important is weather conditions. However, this appears to have changed over time, since apple production in Manipur and Mizoram have improved in both quality and quantity.
According to the Ukhrul Times report, Augustina planted 55 saplings in April 2019, 52 of which produced yield and three of which died. She has harvested 130 kilogrammes of apples this year, with another 70 kilogrammes still to be harvested.
Ringphami Thingshung of Hungpung, who was in the same training group as Augustina, planted 90 saplings, 85 of which survived and provided a good fruit, which is a good sign for a two-year-old plant.
In Manipur, good quality apples are sold for Rs.2500 to Rs.3000 per normal box (20 kilogrammes), with the majority of them imported from Moreh. The apple production pilot project in Manipur would provide a much-needed economic boost to farmers in Manipur's hill districts, who rely largely on rice, pineapple, and banana goods.
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