Stevia & lemon as inter-crops raise new hope for opium growers

From Our Correspondent

TEZU, Nov 29: Stevia and Lemon having tremendous commercial value are being cultivated in about 40 hectares in Lohit foothills as inter-crops to yield maximum benefit to local farmers, which would serve as an alternative to opium cultivation to earn livelihood.

Such cultivation has been proportionally distributed in Tezu, Sunpura and Wakro blocks, which after three months have brought positive result. The farmers have been enthusiastic after rich yield of first harvest.

“Stevia a cash crop with low risk can yield very high return for five years. It’s called wonder herb and is traditionally accepted as medicinal plants for diabetics. Lohit opium growers were encouraged first time to grow stevia and lemon”, HDO S Rehman said.

A high level monitoring team of horticulture the directorate led by joint director Narang Tani and HDO Daniel Nabum made spot inspection to all blocks during November 24 to 27 last.

“We are delighted to see the way stevia is thriving in by adopting innovative mulching technology. The cultivation here is beyond our expectation while other parts of the districts are poor. The farmers would earn whooping Rs 1.5 lakh annually”, Tani said, adding this inter-crops scheme was developed during 2017–18 fiscal  year under SADA – area expansion programme for providing alternative livelihood to opium affected farmers.

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