Farmers taking up apple cultivation in Riga

[Prafulla Kaman] 

PASIGHAT, 9 May:  farmers of Riga circle in Siang district have taken up the cultivation of red apple.

Apple orchards are being developed on the hill slopes on the right bank of the Siang river by about 300 farmers. “But the challenge faced by the farmers is the high cost of (apple) seedlings,” said public leader of the area Tabi Mize.

The farmers are reportedly buying apple seedlings for Rs 220 per tree from Manali in Himachal Pradesh.

Mize, who has already undergone training in apple cultivation, is encouraging the farmers and the women SHG members to adopt horticulture crops on a commercial basis to increase their household incomes.

Riga Farmers Association secretary Taping Tali said the farmers and the women SHG members are showing keen interest in apple cultivation, but are worried about the high prices of the seedlings.

Tali appealed to the horticulture department to include Riga circle under “the apple and kiwi cultivation project, and provide subsidy to the poor farmers in purchasing apple trees.”

He urged the local MLA to take up the issue with the agriculture department.

The farmers are also taking up orange cultivation, pisciculture, sericulture, apiculture, piggery and poultry farming, besides mushroom cultivation, thereby supplying sufficient food products, vegetable and spices to the local markets, he said.

Recently, a group of farmers and women SHG members underwent a weeklong training at the College of Horticulture & Forestry here in East Siang district, Tali informed.

“A group of farmers, including women SHG members of our village took a weeklong training at the College of Horticulture & Forestry last month,” he informed.

Experts say that the climatic condition of Riga and the fertile soil on the hill slopes there are very suitable for cultivation of apple, kiwi and varieties citrus fruits and spices.

The farmers of Riga, Pangkang and Riew villages in Siang district are successfully growing millet under a project sponsored by the Indian Institute of Millet Research, in collaboration with the Pasighat College of Agriculture.