Imphal (Manipur) : The ninth state pineapple festival cum seller and buyer meet and youth festival was held recently at Yairipok Thambalnu Market in Manipur.
The festival was held under the initiative of Development Organization Andro Kendra (DOAK).
Manipur has the favorable climate for pineapple cultivation. The demand for this fruit had increased with the establishment of many canning industries during the last two decades.
The festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh with the aim to promote pineapple growers.
The festival saw participation of almost 180 pineapple farmers who took part with great zeal and enthusiasm.
“Yes, pineapple is found in most parts of the country. However, pineapple from our state has got a very peculiar taste and flavour as compared to other states. Likewise, Churachandpur district is known for producing good quality of ginger, Ukhrul district is known for King Chilli and lemon, while Tamenglong district is known for its oranges,” said Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
“In a year, I make not more than a lakh from pineapple farming. This year, due to incessant rains, most of the pineapple crop was destroyed which has affected the business. Though the favourable climatic condition enables good pineapple production, we lack proper marketing or exports,” said Yaima, a farmer.
Imphal East is the largest producer of pineapples among all the districts of the states. Growing pineapples is a big means of income for the people of Ngarian, Andro and its surrounding areas.
Singh appealed to farmers to be industrious in producing crops as it would usher in development.
Focusing on the overall development of the state, he laid stress on the construction of Thoubal Dam, which will not only provide drinking water to the greater Imphal area but also produce electricity, besides providing water for irrigation.
He also emphasized that Andro and Kaina will be developed as tourist destinations soon. He said work would soon begin to widen Kaina and Andro roads.
“Pineapple from Manipur is in high demands in other states as it has got a very distinctive taste and flavour. In order to look after all the activities, Manipur government has appointed a Commissioner in Horticulture department so that farmers can get incentives or know about schemes available for them,” he added.
“Today, around 180 pineapple farmers has put up their stalls. At the beginning of this year, Horticulture department had opened bank account for farmers and deposited Rs. 8404 in them,” said Laishram Gojendra, Secretary, Organizing Committee.
Besides this, a cultural programme was also organised during the event. The famous ‘Rasleela’ folk dance of Manipur, showcasing the rich cultural heritage and tradition of the state, brought the festival to life.
Nearly 1.38 million tones of pineapple is produced from 0.09 million hectares of land in the country. Pineapple is the main fruit cultivated by farmers in Manipur, which is planted in total 12,100 hectares having production of 1, 03,500 tones annually. (ANI)