- Oman Padung – a successful onion cultivator
By Pradeep Kumar
ITANAGAR, July 21: One after another onion cultivator is surfacing to not only prove right the common adage Alu khulu khulu Mahadev (Lord Shiva surfaces while digging potatoes), but also how benefits of commercial cultivation, new to Arunachal Pradesh, being accrued to ordinary people living in far-flung parts of this land-locked state.
One Oman Padung of Ledum village under Bilat circle, located 36-km off East Siang district HQs Pasight, has created history. Talking to this daily on Wednesday, she said that onion cultivation added to her paddy and vegetable cultivations, orange & pineapple gardens, dairy farming and piggery.
“I with my farmer husband Tamut Padung cultivated onion in one acre land by spending Rs 30,000 whose sale proceeds amounted to Rs 80,000, by selling it from home and nearby markers including at Pasighat @ Rs 30 to Rs 50 per kg. I am 46 and read up to only class-X for which we are educating our four sons. Eldest is BA-BEd; second one BSc; third in college and youngest in class-XI,” she informed.
Though College of Horticulture and Forestry (CHF) vegetable science department associate professor Dr. Chandra Deo had initiated onion pilot project of Pune-based ICAR-Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research (DOGR) in 2018 by involving 20 local farmers but he might not have expected such encouraging outcome.
The praise worthy output surfacing slowly but steadily should encourage Dr Deo and DOGR authorities to take all possible steps for spreading onion cultivation across the state. Onion being brought from other parts of India has huge demands in markets across North-East region.
While civilizations were born and perished for wars over zoru aur zamin, (lady and land), Ramayan, Mahabahart and Athens (Princes Helen) are few examples, but by conceiving out-of-box ideas by role models to turn them into a magic multiplier, basic principles of development support communication (DSC), launched in the West in 1950 made it what it is today. West has been utilizing its land resources productively, but are we doing so in Arunachal – a million dollar question?
Though rural radio broadcasts started in 1940s, India’s organized experiments in DSC dates back to 1960s sponsored by educational institutions, universities and Bretton Woods-school institutions. India is a developing country now with achievements in all fields of modern day life, including science & technology, agriculture and industry due to immense impacts of the DSC in 20th century.
In fact, Punjab is the Rice Bowl of India today for its former chief minister Partap Singh Kairon who had built Bhakra Dam in 1963 to create opportunities, the psychology and will to work for all-round progress and change by removing all hurdles; Gujarat is globally known for its former CM Chimanbhai Patel for massive investment in industrial area (Golden Corridor) and Sardar Sarovar Project; while Odisha’s face changed after its former CM Biju Pasttanaik set up Rourkela Steel Plant (1955) & Paradeep Port [1974, one of the deepest (18-m) and natural port in India’s east coast].
White Revolution (Amul) launched in 1949 involving 97% poor women changed their lives in 30 years for its father Dr Verghese Kurien to win 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. The Royal Commission on Agriculture (1928) made tangible policies for livestock development in India. In 1970, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri influenced by Amul set up National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), whose ‘Operation flood’ made India largest producer of milk in the world.
Krishi Darshan, premiered by DD National on 26.01.1967, to disseminate agricultural information to rural & farming audiences became the longest running TV serial. Its impact had made India a food grains exporter form an importer.
Accordingly, Arunachal Pradesh success stories are Abali Organic Tea Garden near Roing that had revived Assam’s 140-year-old plantations of sick Gossainbari Tea Estate to save 250 families from starvation; National Youth Project led by president H P Biswas and vice president Pradeep Kumar initiated large size cardamom cultivation in Anjaw district by involving 22 farmers in 2008 and its first harvest in 2011 had yielded Rs 1.76 crore to become a national success story and catapulted the state to be highest producer of India. TNT Shilpa Bakery headed by entrepreneur-cum-Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Tarh Nachung with support of Sendo with a highly technical factory at Nirjuli had not only stopped bread supply to state Capital from outside since 1992 but had expanded to make 51 varieties of food products & 151 types of London shakes, pizzas, burgers and snacks. Employing about 200 staff, it become first state bakery unit to obtain ISO 900:2008 certification and opened its 11th counter at Doimukh on 12.11.20.
On learning about success of onion cultivation, Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering said that Arunachal Pradesh predominately a tribal dominated traditional society would take time to switch over to modern practices in any field. But, he said that such onion cultivators being locals could create ‘empathy’ among their fellow beings to follow suit. Those who have inked success stories could be made ‘opinion leaders’ for the benefits to percolate down to unreachable areas which would lead to diffusion. Convincing the innocent Arunachalee farmers would automatically lead to ‘magic multiplier’, he reasoned.
Thus, Ering, a former union minister, exhorted the CHF and DOGR to adopt the DSC, whose three magic principles – creating empathy, diffusion through opinion leaders, and magic multiplier – would propel onion cultivation for Arunachal to meet its internal demands.