State specific crop/animal species for higher productivity in NE
- Part 2 -

Angad Prasad / Indira Sarangthem / Daya Ram *


The North-East region is endowed with diverse agro-climatic conditions, rich genetic diversities, vast hydrological resources and pollution free environment that offer a great scope to develop agro-ecosystem, a specific technological intervention for diversification of the Agriculture and allied activities viz. horticulture, animal husbandry and fisheries etc.

The State displays a distinct ethnic, socio-cultural and geographical identity. As the purpose of preparing this article mentioned above, following two produce in the State of Meghalaya are needed to be focussed for employment generation and contribution in Atmanirbhar Bharat, an innovative scheme of the Govt. of India.

2.1 Cashewnut:

Cultivation of cashew nut is a technically feasible, financially viable and bankable activity in the areas identified suitable for its based on agro-climatic conditions. West Garo Hills district has an area of 4899 ha under cashewnut with an estimated annual production of about 12603 metric tonnes of raw cashew nut (2012-13).

Cashew (Anacardiumoccidentale), a native of Brazil was introduced in India during the latter half of the sixteenth century for the purpose of forestation and soil conservation. The current cashew production of the country accounts for 18.68% of the global production. A significant revolution in food habits is encouraging diversification towards high-value commodities, post-harvest processing and value addition of agricultural produce.

To raise income, employment, profitability, food security, global competitiveness and social welfare, a holistic approach with emphasis in cashewnut production has become imminent. Farmers’ income can be increased not just by increasing productivity but also through efficient and effective cashewnut production as well as value addition.

Cashewnut has a potential to generate more local jobs, better income and services, Inspite of various initiatives and technological options made available through Horticulture Department and extensive R & D efforts are yet not reached to the people of West Garo Hills of Meghalaya, which need more development in the value chain of the chsewnut and value addition for better marketing.

Apart from this, emphasis is needed for specific and products and commercializing them which have market potential through technological application at local level. Up-gradation in the value chain of chewnut can improve the national export potential as well as remunerative return to the farmers motivating them to scale up the farming.

Adoption of new technology and sustainable utilization of resources and farm inputs can help cashewnut growers in minimizing the cost of production. There is training needs for modern cultivation practices on cashewnut in the State of Meghalaya.

Besides, promoting producer’s cooperative and providing adequate short term credit facilities particularly in the rural areas are also very necessary. In order to hedge risk of cashewnut production, it is imperative to develop market intelligence services, introduction of support price and insurance scheme for cashewnut in the State.

The traditional cashew tree is tall (up to 14 m) and takes three years’ time from planting before it starts production. More recent breeds, such as the dwarf cashew trees, are up to 6 m tall, and start producing after the first year with economic yield after three years. In the traditional system, 6065 plants are planted in one acre of land and the harvesting starts from the third year in this system.

In the first year, around 0.75 kg of raw cashew nuts is obtained from a tree amounting to 780 kg in one ha. Cashew plants start bearing after three years of planting and reach full bearing during tenth year and continue giving remunerative yields four another 20 years. The cashew nuts are harvested during February –May. Normally, harvesting consist of picking of nuts that have dropped to the ground after maturing.

In third year onwards, a well healthy tree gives a yield of 4 to 5 kg, i.e. one ton of nuts per hectare of land. Thus, cashewnut cultivation is a technically feasible, financially viable and bankable activity in the State of Meghalaya.

2.2 Ginger:

Ginger is another promising cash crop in the State of Meghalaya, It is grown in almost all the states of the Region but the leading states are Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Apart from improved varieties like Nadia, China, Varada, etc., a number of local cultivars exist in north eastern region. These varieties like, Nadia and Rio-De-Janeiro are high yielder of rhizomes with less fibre content as compared to standard/local cultivars.

The freshly harvested ginger is mostly used for consumption as green ginger in the whole north eastern states, only a little amount of surplus is sold outside the region through middle men, generally at a very low price. Sometimes due to marketing problem, the farmers are not able to sell their produce since there is not local market, big enough to absorb and handle green ginger in large quantities.

Therefore, it is essential to process a part of the produce into low volume high value products to make the crop remunerative. As it is abundantly available in the region, different products like ginger oil, ginger oleoresin, ginger candy, ginger powder etc. can be prepared for export, which are in high demand in developed countries. Dried ginger (called Saunth) can also be prepared and it may be either sold as such or in the form of off-white to very light brown powder.

Ginger is a tropical crop and requires warm and humid climate for its cultivation. Altitude: Ginger is cultivated from sea level to altitudes of about 1500 m ASL. However, the optimum elevation for its successful cultivation is in the range of 300-900 m ASL. In north eastern region, ginger is generally grown in Jhum (shifting cultivation) land, situated in moderate to high altitudes.

Temperature: Ginger performs well in a temperature range of 190C- 280C and a humidity of 70-90%. It does not grow well in those areas where the temperature exceeds 320C with low relative humidity. Cool and dry climate is best for rhizome development and thus, the State of Meghalaya has a favourable condition for ginger cultivation.

The yield of green ginger is about 100-150 q/ha (Green rhizomes) and 200-250 1/ha of mature rhizomes. Ginger Powder, Candies and preserves, salted ginger, ginger paste, ginger oil and oleoresin etc are important products made from ginger.


Mizoram is a state in north-eastern part of India with Aizawl as its capital city. The name is derived from ‘Mizo’ the name of the native inhabitants, and ‘Ram’ which means land and thus, Mizoram means ‘’Land of the Mizos’’.

Within the northeast region, it is the southernmost landlocked state, sharing borders with three of the Seven Sister States, namely Tripura, Assam and Manipur. The state also shares a 722-kilometre border with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The climate in Mizoram is ideal for growing flowers.

3.1 Anthurium:

Anthurium is very important flower being grown in the State of Mizoram. It is a tropical perennial herb of the areceae (arum) family and can grow up to a height of 20 inches. It is also known by a variety of other names such as tail flower, flamingo, cresto de gallo, cockscomb and anturio. Anthuriums were first introduced to Mizoram in the year 2002.

Now a-days, more than 300 families are actively engaged in Anthurium cultivation and several Growers Societies fulfil the needs and aspirations of the growers. The Anthurium is a very interesting flower. It is actually an ensemble, much like a couturier’s designed dress. The colourful part that we see is a leaf, brilliantly coloured to attract insects for pollination.

The actual flowers are very tiny and can be seen on a fleshy stem standing upright in the centre of this leaf. This stem, bearing the flowers, is called spadix. The spadix always rises straight up, holding the flowers high and open to the atmosphere for facilitating pollination. The waxy specialized leaf also provided protection to the delicate flowers.

This entire ensemble is startlingly attractive and the cut flowers last anything from 8-21 days making them a favourite for flower arrangement. The Ministry of Horticulture in Mizoram is actively engaged in promoting floriculture in the State. The seed material is procured from Holland. The latest Dutch varieties are gown under shade houses.

Once the stems grow to sizes ready for cutting, the cut flowers are brought to the plant for precision cutting and placed in cold storage till they are packaged for marketing. The stems have to reach the buyer within 24 hours to be of value. They are exported to Dubai and other countries too. For the internal market, the flowers are first shipped to Kolkata and then to Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

With the aim to boost the horticulture economy in the region, Mizoram Government has chalked out a blue-print to export huge quantity of high quality Anthurium flowers across the globe. The State Horticulture Department exports anthurium flowers to Dubai, UAE and other gulf countries.

There are more than 350 anthurium growers in the State, who have been trained by the Horticulture Department along with all the raw materials to produce international quality of anthurium flowers. The rate of the flowersw differs according to the size and the market.

A single flower can usually fetch between Rs 5-10 depending upon size, season and demand. From one ha of land, a farmer can earn Rs. 2.5 – 3.0 lakhs.

3.2 Lilium:

It is one of the most important bulbous flower, belonging to Liliaceae family, commercially grown in India for cut flowers. Recently, this crop has become popular in many states in India. Lilies have a very good demand in the flower market as cut flower and pot plants. Out of the different types of lilies, Oriental and Asiatic hybrid lilies and to some extent, the Eastern and Tiger lilies are the most popular ones.

All these lilies are excellent cut flowers. The popularity of these lilies is gradually increasing in India. Some varieties resistant to leaf scorch should preferably be selected for commercial cultivation.

They are versatile and durable, plus they offer gardeners a wide variety of heights, flower forms, and colours. In fact, their presence in the garden is so striking they are often called the ‘’Queen’’ or ‘’Grande Dame’’ of the summer garden.

For its cultivation, soil with good texture and proper drainage is preferred. The soil should be light and porous but rich in organic matter. For good plant growth and quality flower production, the night temperature should be around 10-150C and the day temperature should be 20-250C.

A shading screen with 50-75% shade will be beneficial. Viewing the agro-climatic conditions, the state of Mizoram is quite suitable. A tick of Lilium costs Rs. 60.00 and a bunch of 10 costs Rs. 600 in Kolasib and Aizawl market. On an average, Rs. 3.0 to 4.0 lakh can be obtained from one ha of land.

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 27 2024.

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