State specific crop/animal species for higher productivity in NE
- Part 1 -

Angad Prasad / Indira Sarangthem / Daya Ram *

The North Eastern Hill (NEH) Region of India is located between 21.50 to 29.50 North latitude and 85.50 to 97.50 East longitudes. Flanked by hills and with the mighty Brahmaputra river slashing a central path between its north and south, the North East is bounded by the States of Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura with Assam comprising the heart.

Arunachal Pradesh lies to its north and Sikkim a little away in the North West bordering China and Bhutan. Bangladesh and Myanmar lie to its southwest and east hill States of India having a total geographical area of 5.63% of the country (approximately 1, 83,813 km2) with a population of 1.13% to be supported on its natural resources.

The NE States are quite different and peculiar in nature due to their distinct topography (highly rugged steep mountains and hills to rolling topography of plateau region) terrain comprising mountainous region, hills and plateaus interspersed with valley lands in the foot hills, extreme climatic charac- teristics that results in above 11000 mm of average annual rainfall in Cherrapunjee and Mowsynram ranges.

Inaccessibility and remoteness of the places, dense forest cover and poor and underdeveloped infrastructure system are characteristics of the entire NEH region of India.

The entire NEH region is agriculturally diversified and nearly all crops, vegetables, fruits, spices, flowers and medicinal crops are grown. In case of animal husbandry, the region has its uniqueness over the country. Dairy animals, sheep and goats are reared similar to other parts of the country but, there are some very unique animals found and reared in this region.

Among these, Mithun in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, Pony in Manipur and Yak in Sikkim are special. If critical observation is done, we can find that each State of the NEH region has very unique and profitable crops/fishes/flowers/animals.

In Manipur, black scented rice, fish (Pengba), Cashew nut and Pigs in Meghalaya, Anthurium, Lilium and Pigs in Mizoram, Naga chilli and Mithun in Nagaland; Khasi mandarin and Ginger in Arunachal Pradesh, Pineapple and fish farming in Tripura; and large cardamom and orchid flower in the State of Sikkim.

Besides, silk worm rearing and turmeric cultivation in Assam are two prioritized agriculturally products which can be taken and youth can be trained in these selected products for their production and marketing and thereby, having a very sustainable platform for their livelihood.

At present, the Central Agricultural University, Imphal has established one Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in each of the jurisdiction States–Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Aru-nachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura, except Nagaland where establishment is under pipeline.

In addition, College of Agricultural Engineering & Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, Sikkim has excellent facility for training in food processing and packaging. Krishi Vigyan Kendras of the region have a team of Subject Matter Specialists as well as facility for training.

Like other parts of the country, the problem of unemployment in this region is increasing at a faster rate which is becoming a challenge for the Government to provide employment to the people for improvement of living standard of this region.

Further, Government has launched so many schemes for the benefit of the people but the pace of development is not satisfactory. In this article, the authors have tried to highlight the two most important agricultural/animal husbandry/fish producers which have ample potential for creation of job or Employment Avenue in and around their home places.


1.1 Black Aromatic Rice (Chak-hao): Black aromatic rice locally named as Chak-hao is well known for its attractive colour and aromatic flavour and consi- dered as one of the richest sources of anthocyanin, vitamins, minerals, fibre, proteins and many other nutrients.

The uniqueness of the black aromatic rice of Manipur is its present aroma coupled with stickiness which is not common in other black rice grown in other parts of the world. Having realised the inherent unique properties, a good scope for commercial cultivation and value addition of its products for a profitable agri business have already been envisioned with its gaining importance and demands from around the globe.

It is considered to be a rice variety with a higher vitamin and mineral content than both white and brown rice. Black aromatic rice owes its colour due to powerful natural black colouring pigments called anthocyanin’s which boast an impressive antioxidant activity adding to the health benefits of this rice variety. In addition to being a good source of vitamins E, fibre and protein, black rice is shown to reduce inflammation levels in the body.

According to researches done so far, black rice consumption contributes to the prevention and management of ailments such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzhei- mer’s disease, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, arthritis, allergies, aging signs and even cancer.

It contains total crude protein (12.15%), total carbohydrate (72.43%), amylose (8.27%), fat (4.80%), ash (1.57%) and crude fibre (0.71%). In addition, important minerals like, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, cobalt and iron are also found in abundant quantity.

Chak-hao is consumed mainly after being cooked as rice or kheer. Some of the value added products that can be prepared are powder, suji (flour), syrup, chocolate, beer, wine, cake, bred, flattened rice, paratha, laddoo, other sweetened food and cosmetic items.

Chak-hao rice extracts could be a potential source of anti-oxidative phyto-chemicals and useful ingredient for nutraceuticals or functional food products and natural colorants rather than the toxic synthetics.

In the State of Manipur, 2000 ha. of area under Chak-hao (Black Aromatic Rice) has been fully certified under standards laid down and administered in India by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) ie, National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) under MOVCDNER (Mission Organic Value Chain Develop- ment for North Eastern Regions) Phase-1 and another 1000 ha is under process.

Two varieties viz., Chak-hao ‘Amubi’ and Chak-hao ‘Poireiton’ which are quite popular in the State are being cultivated organically. On an average, a farmer can produce 50-60 q/h black aromatic rice (35-40 q hulled rice). Presently, hulled and much cleaned black aromatic rice is being sold @ Rs. 120/- per kg and day-by-day, its demand at national and global level is being increased.

1.2 Fisheries:

Another very important farm produce in the State of Manipur is one of the unique fishes ie, Pengba, a very popular medium carp fish species of Manipur (locally called as Belangiriputi also, belonging to Family-Cyprinidae and declared as the State Fish of Manipur) having a special taste.

This fish grows very well in the composite culture and feeds on different food items available in the pond system including algae and detritus vegetation as well as supplementary fish feed (preferably floating fish feed) alike Rohu/Grass carp and grows almost a Kilogram in a year time.

In Manipur, it is most costly fish and during festive time in October- November, it is sold at a premium price of more than Rs. 800/kg for celebrating Ningol Chakkouba (a religious festival of Meitei community). If pond is managed properly, 10-15 q/h Pengba fish can be obtained.

To be continued...

For further details contact: -
Public Relations& Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: [email protected]

* Angad Prasad / Indira Sarangthem / Daya Ram wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writers are with
College of Agriculture,
Central Agricultural University,
This article was webcasted on April 25 2024.

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