This is the story of a group of 20 young and energetic farmers from Chawang block under Men Rongong GPU in North Sikkim.
This is the story of a group of 20 young and energetic farmers from Chawang block under Men Rongong GPU in North Sikkim. The most remunerative and easily grown large cardamom crop was one of the main cash crops of North Sikkim. The eruption of blight and pest infestation like and shoot borer coupled with severity of viral conditions of Chirkey and Foorkey led to huge reduction in area, almost by 75% a decade ago. In order to counter this declining trend, the department initiated measures to check infestations and bring new area under this crop through integrated disease and pest management practices and quality planting material distribution. The result out of this approach was not commensurate to the efforts put in and the department had to devise a radical approach.
In consultation with local leaders, a group of young farmers with similar attitude and dedication were brought together to form a FIG covering a single cluster near bridge 9, under Men Rongong GPU of North Sikkim. They were provided with quality planting materials, organic manures and pesticides along with a set of new protocol for management. Cash incentives of Rs 18,750/- only per ha also was provided as working capital.
Within a period of three years, this approach yielded much more satisfactory result. Each farmer could harvest 100 kg capsules per ha on an average. The yield is expected to go higher year by year as crop is perennial in nature and the plant size increases with maturity
Being located on the road side, people passing by get a good view of this beautiful and luxuriant growth of new plantation and get convinced with the work carried out by department and the farmers. After the success of this experiment, many farmers have started to approach the department for more such projects in other areas.
The group is highly thankful to the Central and state governments for the programme and continue to seek support in future as well.