‘If winter is here, can spring be far behind’, an adage, can be aptly termed for the pineapples which are hogging the markets.
If Tripura has been a major exporter of its ‘queen’ variety of pineapples, especially to Dubai, its next door neighbour, Assam’s Lakhipur sub-division, too, has caught up with them, this time round.
A consignment of 15 metric tonnes of pineapples, cultivated in Cachar district’s Lakhipur sub-division, has been exported to the global markets in Dubai, for the first time, on Sunday.
Jakir Hussain Choudhury, district agriculture officer, Cachar, talking to Northeast Now said, “The move has been initiated by the department of horticulture, Assam, and executed through the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the ministry of commerce and industry, Govt. of India. We are just acting as a catalyst for the 2000 odd farmers of Hmarkhawlien area of Lakhipur, where it is extensively cultivated.”
“It is a pilot project for which 10,000 pineapples, weighing around 15 metric tonnes, have been loaded in a refrigerated container that would travel all the way to Mumbai from where these products would be sent to Dubai. If the efforts pay off in the global markets with people enjoying the tastes of the pineapples from this region, new vistas would open up for these farmers engaged in organic cultivation,” said Choudhury.
The district agriculture officer also added that once the consignment reaches Mumbai, the parameters for sending the consignment off shores will again undergo a fresh assessment.
“Nonetheless, the pineapple variety in Lakhipur is cultivated across 1500 hectares of land with an average production of 40,000 metric tonnes during the season from May till July every year. If they find a market such as Dubai, it would be a boon for the cultivators of this much loved fruit during the scorching summers,” he said.
Cachar’s deputy commissioner Laya Madduri, who flagged off the maiden consignment of pineapples, shared her happiness as a lot of efforts were made to boost the confidence of the farmers in Hmarkhwalein.
“We have been making efforts to take the produces outside the state and even to other countries for a long time. However, lack of effective planning and many other factors acted as a deterrent towards that objective,” she said.
On a parting note, Madduri added, “We have been organizing training sessions for the farmers on grading, processing, and various other aspects, and a lot more needs to be done. If the pilot project succeeds, I am pretty much sure that the sweet taste of this fruit from Cachar shall bring smiles not only for us, but, the state of Assam as a whole.”