Arunachal Pradesh agriculture minister Tage Taki on Friday distributed saplings of the first batch of the low-chilling variety apple (HRMN-99) to the beneficiaries during a training programme.

The training programme has been organised by Ziro Valley Charity Mission Society on the cultivation practices and management of these apples at Abulya here.

This pilot project is being launched for the first time in Arunachal Pradesh.

The project, funded by North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (a society of the North Eastern Council), will be implemented on 14 acres of land through 18 beneficiaries.

Expressing gratitude to the DoNER ministry, Taki said: “Such encouragement from the ministry to the farmers will boost their morale and motivate them to venture into sustainable farming.”

He exhorted the participants to derive maximum benefit from the training.

“Earlier, apples were very prominently grown in Ziro, but due to the shortfall in chilling requirements, those varieties could not be continued. But now with the introduction of low-chilling apple variety, apple production in Ziro will flourish again,” he said.

Speaking about making Ziro self-sufficient in vegetables, he added: “The conditions in Ziro are favourable for growing many off-season crops and can be a savior during a crisis. This potential should be explored by all the farming community in collaboration with the Agriculture and Horticulture departments.”

Taki further suggested cluster farming since land holdings in Ziro is very less per individual.

In the technical session that followed, Horticulture Development Officer Tasso Yallu dwelt at length on the cultivation practices of the low-chilling apple variety.

The programme also included an interaction between the resource persons and the beneficiaries.

Some 6,000 saplings of HRMN-99 variety apples will be distributed to the beneficiaries.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com