Enough jamin & hardworking jarus can catapult ‘New Arunachal’

Green tea marketer

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

With fast changing time simpleton Arunachalees are learning the mantras not only to earn decent livelihood but to go beyond the border in search of greener pastures. Though many have succeeded in doing so, newcomers in the field are learning faster.

The workshop on ‘capacity building and export awareness’, conducted by trade and commerce team led by secretary Oink Panyang, would not only accelerate the process but would serve more than what meet the eyes.

It is a sheer coincidence that one metric tonne famed juicy oranges from progressive orange farmer Todol Pertin of Dambuk in Lower Dibang Valley district was exported to Dubai from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport enroute Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport on 02.01.18. Small quantity of orange sample hand-picked from Dambuk and Siang belt in November 2017 by exporter M/s Kreamery Kraft of Kolkata was sent to Dubai to ascertaining market acceptability before the export.

Similar exercises of testing market acceptability of Arunachal kiwi was also carried out which had received encouraging response to lay the groundwork for large scale export of the fruit. This was outcome of the discussions during World Food India Event 2017 in New Delhi during November 3-5, 2017, where Arunachal Pradesh had taken part with to toe the footsteps of Tripura, which had exported pineapples to Dubai using cold storage facilities of IGI airport. About 35 metric tonne kiwis from Ziro area were lifted in 2018 by firms and business establishments from Jaipur and Guwahati besides by online firm Big Basket.

Concerned over rising opium addiction in the state, National Youth Project had convinced 22 opium cultivators of Anjaw district to cultivate large size cardamom to earn Rs 1.72 crore from first harvest, which was uploaded to NABARD website as a success story. Many may not be aware that large size cardamom had turned a junoon in that district to make cultivators lakhpatis while their products command double the rate in southern market for onward export to Gulf countries. Former chief minister Kalikho Pul was well aware of the changing socio-economic condition of people of his district.

Civilizations emerged and perished for jaru (woman) and jamin (land) is a gospel truth since ages. Ramayana between Demon King Ravan and Lord Rama in Treta Yuga (5114 BC) after Ravan kidnapped Sita; Mahabharat was fought between the Kaurabas and the Pandabas for Draupadi during Dwapara Yuga (3139 BC); Trojan War was waged against the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Memelaus of Sparta to ruin rich civilization of Troy in Greek in 1194-184 BC or Heer-Ranjha tragic romantic story of Punjab (1766). As present period is passing through Kali Yuga full of strife, discord, quarrel or contention with rulers becoming unreasonable, levying taxes unfairly, not protecting their subjects and people will work hard for survival.

However, Arunachalees are blessed with enough land and hard working women making the state economy women-centric. Thus, it would be prudent to facilitate best use of jaru and jamin, but many women are visibly willing to join the bandwagon for a bigger role in proposed ‘New Arunachal’.

While young exporter Anima Pertin of Mangnang village of East Siang district intends to export green tea to Berlin and Singapore, green tea marketer Dekjum Yonggam wishes to be an exporter. Meeting her during workshop and learning that she is daughter of former Rajya Sabha member Nyodek Yonggam was a sheer coincidence to reminiscent past memories of seeing her as a kid because of my close relation with her father. Dekjum, who has inculcated all charming qualities of her father, is presently marketing green tea produced in her father’s M/s Yonggam Tea Estate at Oyan.

Yonggam, who was representative of Arunachal Pradesh in Rajya Sabha during  27.05.90 to 26.05.96, used to raise important state issues in the Parliament whose replies invariably  used to reach me for due coverage. I used to meet him during his every visit to Naharlagun from Delhi.

Yonggam, who has been cultivating organic tea in his 35 hectare garden close to glacier fed mighty Siang River. Interestingly, he was planter of former Doom Dooma Tea Co. Ltd in Assam, incorporated in London, since 1999 as a major source of his income, and produces approximately 60,000 kg per year.  As Dekjum facilitated my conversation with her father, his sound was similar warm and reciprocating.

Though Arunachal Pradesh by default is an organic state, but some farmers are engaged in organic cultivation with commitment. While formation of ‘Arunachal Exporter’ WhatSaap group is laudable, but I feel it is high time to prepare a data of agri-horticulture farmers, including organic tea producers, which will immensely help to link them to exporters within and outside the state.

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