Shillong, Apr 25 The Meghalaya government has launched a mission to register a five-fold increase in the production of Lakadong turmeric, an organic variety grown in the state, to at least 50,000 metric tonne per year in the next five years.
It also plans to more than double the crop area from the current 2,577 hectare to 6,070 hectare over the next five years, according to a 'Mission Lakadong' document.
Jaintia Hills District is home to one of the finest turmeric varieties in the world and the most famous one being the Lakadong turmeric with the highest curcumin content, according to a study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
Launching the 'Mission Lakadong', Governor Ganga Prasad said yesterday that at least 1,000 farmers currently engaged in the cultivation of the Lakadong turmeric in about 2,500 hectare in Laskein and Thadlaskein blocks are producing about 10,000 metric tonne in a year, he said.
"This kind of volume is not sufficient to create a global footprint for our Lakadong variety. There is a necessity to undertake a mission mode intervention to increase the production of Lakadong turmeric to at least 50,000 MT and more than double the area of cultivation," the governor said.
Speaking on the occasion, Prasad said that he was taken aback by the plight of the turmeric farmers who had not been able to realise the full economic potential of the crop as most of them were small and marginal farmer.
Non-availability of planting material and low volumes were also the other problems of the turmeric cultivators, he said.
The productivity of the crop will also be improved from 6 MT per hectare to 8 MT per hectare area with the introduction of the latest technologies of plant propagation and post harvest technology induction.
The main objective of 'Mission Lakadong' is to enhance the livelihood and income opportunities of the farmers engaged in the cultivation of this variety by leveraging on the uniqueness of Lakadong to tap the current and emerging opportunities in the spice sector, the document said.
The mission will be implemented by the directorate of horticulture, the Community and Rural Development department, the Forest department, the North Eastern Hill University and the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship under the direct supervision of the Governor"s secretariat.