| All-round effort
Agartala, Oct. 3: The Tripura government is trying to revive the orange orchards which once covered the hilly terrains of Jampui Hills of the state’s Unakoti district.
Around 12,000 hectares of the hilly areas were covered with orange trees even in the late eighties but now the cultivation of the fruits has scaled down to 5,000 hectares.
Indigenous communities such as Reangs and Mizos, who had been traditionally associated with orange cultivation, are now switching over to other cash crops like nuts, coffee and ginger to earn their livelihood.
The state horticulture and soil conservation department had sought help from Nagpur-based National Resource Centre for revival of the traditional orange cultivation in Jampui Hills.
A team of four scientists of the centre headed by I.P. Singh went to Jampui Hills and toured different hilltop hamlets to have first-hand knowledge on the present condition of orange farming.
“During their stay from September 27-29, they conducted a workshop at block resource centre hall at Jampui Hills,” said Hiralal Debnath, the deputy director of the horticulture department over telephone from Kumarghat in Unakoti district today.
Altogether 50 orange farmers attended the workshop and received tips on how to raise and tend orange trees, he said.
“According to the National Resource Centre scientists, the moisture in the soil and the climate are still conducive to orange farming in Jampui Hills but there is a need for proper care with modern techniques,” he said.
“They also laid stress on using proper pesticides to protect the plants from being infested,” said another horticulturist.
The superintendent of agriculture, Kanchanpur division, Shiraj-ul Islam, said the department has envisaged a plan to bring 3,000 hectares of land under orange cultivation.
An area of 200 hectares has already been brought under orange cultivation.