State specific crop/animal species for higher productivity in NE
- Part 3 -

Angad Prasad / Indira Sarangthem / Daya Ram *


4.1 Khasi Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulate):

It is most common among citrus fruits grown in India occupying nearly 40% of the total area under citrus cultivation. The most important commercial citrus species in India are the mandarin (Citrus reticulata), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and acid lime (Citrus aurantifolia) sharing 41, 23 and 23% respectively of all citrus fruits produced in the country.

Khasi Mandarin is an important fruit crop being cultivated in the State of Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in East Siang and its surrounding districts. College of Horticulture & Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Pasighat has developed various technologies for scientific production and management of Khasi Mandarin.

Fruits are harvested when they attain full size, develop attractive colour with optimum sugar and acid blend. Fruits should be harvested preferably with clippers, shears or secateurs. Mandarins should not be harvested in wet weather or during rains. Mandarins start bearing from the fourth year but substantial yield can be expected only from sixth year onwards.

Mandarin produces 500-800 fruits after about 9-10 years. However, its plants attain the level of full bearing at the age of 10-12 years. Average yield is 14-15 tonnes/ha. Rs. 4.00 – 5.00 lakh/ha can be obtained, if orchard is well managed in the State.

4.2 Mithun:

Mithun popularly known as ‘Cattle of Mountain’ is an important bovine species of north-eastern hill region of India and also of China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh. This magnificent massive bovine is presently reared under free-range condition in the hill forests at an altitude of 1000 to 3000 m above mean sea level. Mithun plays an important role in the socio-economic and cultural life of the local tribal population.

The indigenous people use the animal in sacred traditional ceremonies and as a gift to the bride in weddings. Owning a mithun is also a matter of pride in the region. This rare species of livestock is reared by the indigenous population in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

Presently, this animal is mainly reared for meat, which is considered to be more tender and superior over the meat of any other species. Mithun milk, though produced less in quantity, is of high quality and can be used for preparation of various milk products. Leather obtained from this species has been found to be superior to cattle.

Even though Mithuns are reared in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, around 89.7% of the animal is recorded in Arunachal Pradesh. The bovine species is an important source of meat and holds immense cultural significance among the tribal communities in these four states. |Mithuns are mostly reared in free-range and semi-domesticated conditions without any human interference in these north eastern states.

A mithun weighs around 400 to 500 kg in four years and meat sold for anything between Rs. 150- 400/- per kg in north eastern. An adult mithun is sold at a price ranging from Rs. 30,000-50,000/- Since this animal is mostly reared in free grazing condition, it can give high source of income, if reared scientifically and it can provide a source of livelihood for the local youth. Mithun farming can be a game changer towards entrepreneurship development among the rural youth.


Sikkim is a state in north-eastern India. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south. Sikkim is also close to India’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh. Sikkim is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states.

A part of the Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok. In Sikkim, Agriculture and tourism are the main economic activity of the people.

The pace of agriculture, horticulture and other farming practices are not uniform. Natural climatic conditions, sloping topography of land, narrow strip terrace cultivation, very low per capita land availability are limiting the scope of cultivating any single crop or variety to grow at different slopes. Modern agricultural techniques have opened avenues and scope for promoting high value crops like flower crops, spices and medicinal crops.

5.1 Orchid:

Sikkim, a hilly state in the Eastern Himalayas has five climatic zones consisting of lower hill, middle and higher hills, alpine zones and snow bound land. Nearly 82% of the land is forest covered and the unique biodiversity of the state is well known throughout the world and covers 0.2% of national geographical area only, however, harbours 26% of India's total biodiversity that accounts for 7-8% of recorded species in the world.

Even though East Sikkim has advanced in flower crops due to marketing avenues and urbanisation, the potential of commercialisation has not been fully exploited. The State Government agencies laid the basic foundation for horizontal expansion with infrastructural facilities like polyhouse cultivation and input material supply etc.

Sikkim has several thousands of floral species thriving in the state and also a home to more than 500 species of orchids. Royal orchid is the Official Flower of Sikkim. The total number of orchid species in India is estimated to be around 1229. Out of which, 523 are from Sikkim alone, only next to Arunachal Pradesh having 620 species of orchids. But when land to species ratio is considered, Sikkim perhaps is the world’s richest orchid diversity hotspot.

ICAR-National Research Centre for Orchids, Sikkim plays a crucial role in imparting training and extension for its stakeholders, progressive orchid farmers and staff from state department, on orchid production and protection technologies. In addition, the College of Agricultural Engineering & Post Harvest Technology, CAU, Ranipool, Sikkim has been trying to train the farmers/entrepreneurs for orchid preservation, processing and packaging to speed up the export of this flower.

Apart from revenue from farm produce, these new developments led to the Sikkim farmers to produce orchids and seasonal flowers and earned laurels on different occasions. Orchids are a relatively long-lasting flower when freshly cut, maintaining their fresh, waxy appearance anywhere from several days to several weeks. If orchid cut flowers are kept deeping in water or wet cotton, they can retain freshness up to one week.

Therefore, its export has tremendous scope for gaining handsome income. The expected income from one ha of open land converted into orchid farm comes to a minimum of Rs. 30 lakh every year if optimum market is available.

5.2 Large cardamom (Amomumsubulatum):

Large cardamom is an ancient spice-cum-medicinal crop of India, which is one of the main cash crops cultivated in Sikkim. India is the largest producer of large cardamom in the world and Sikkim contributes to it significantly. The crop grows well under the shade of forest trees at altitudes ranging from 1000-2000 metres with a rainfall of 3000-3500 mm per annum.

Deep and well drained soils with a loamy texture are best suited for cardamom. The soil in Sikkim is generally rich in organic matter and nitrogen, medium in available phosphorus and medium to high in available potash. The soils have a pH range from 4.5 to 6.0. Even though the crop can be grown in undulating and steep terrains, land with a more moderate slope is preferred.

The Spices Board is trying to promote the cultivation of large cardamom in Sikkim through the following schemes:

v Certified nursery scheme: For making available quality planting materials to the growers, Board gives assistance @ Rs. 2 per sucker for raising of sucker nurseries in farmers’ field.

v New planting scheme: the programme is intended to encourage the growers to take up new plantations of old, senile and uneconomic gardens. A subsidy of Rs. 28000/ per ha is offered to growers owning large cardamom up to 8 ha the cost of replanting and maintenance during gestation period. The subsidy is limited to new plantations of 4 Ha. The subsidy is paid in two equal annual instalments.

v Rainwater harvesting: The programme for rainwater harvesting using devices made of earth excavated tips lined with silpauline sheets is implemented in North Eastern States for large cardamom. 33.33% of the actual cost of construction subject to a maximum of Rs. 12000/- per device is provided as subsidy.

v Curing house: The large cardamom growers traditionally cure their cardamom by direct heating in the locally constructed bhatties. Capsules dried under this method are black in colour with a smoky smell. ICRI-Gangtok had developed a scientific curing technology for large cardamom by introducing modified Bhatti in which cardamom capsules are dried using indirect heating system in which the dried capsules retain the pink (maroon) colour and natural flavour.

In order to popularize this method, Board is providing subsidy @ Rs. 9000/- for 200 kg capacity and Rs. 12500/- for 400 kg capacity. Modified Bhatti towards 33.33% cost of construction of modified Bhatti respectively.

v Construction of Irrigation Structures: This programme is aimed at developing water resources in the cardamom plantations, which will help the growers to irrigate their plantations in summer. Assistance is given for construction of irrigation devices i.e., 50% of the actual cost of construction or Rs 20,000/- whichever is less is paid as subsidy.

v Installation of Irrigation equipment: Board will assist in installing irrigation equipment at 50% subsidy subject to a maximum of Rs. 10,000/- to farmers of large cardamom.

Presently, large cardamom is sold @ Rs. 750-900/- per kg. Rs. 30-40 lakh can be received from one ha of land if properly managed.

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 29 2024.

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