Farmers in Garo Hills switch to banana cultivation

Shillong (Meghalaya),[India] July 28 : Meghalaya with its favorable climate for various crops cultivation switched from widespread jhum cultivation to banana cultivation. The farmers of Garo Hills have taken to banana cultivation to conserve the green cover and as a sustainable means of livelihood. Beckingson Sangam, a farmer, said that Jhum cultivation have led to large scale deforestation. He said, "We have realized that we need to conserve our forests. We have lost our forest cover to jhum cultivation, now there is a realization and people are getting back to their roots to conserve and protect the forests." "I get a profit of around Rs. 10,000 a month after selling bananas at Adokgre market." he added. Despite having burnt vast areas of land, the farmers are making its best use by cultivating bananas and other cash crops like areca nut. Banana cultivation has yielded better income and has ensured better sustainability for the farmers. Charles Sangma, adviser of Adokgre Farmer's Market said, "At Adokgre market, we have been able to help the farmers who bring their produce here. The buyers from different areas come and buy it from us." The bananas that are produced organically attract buyers from Bihar and West Bengal states. 60 percent of bananas which have a monthly turnover of Rs. 4 crore in the market of neighbouring Assam come from North Garo Hills. Rajen Sahu, a trader from Bihar said the cultivation has helped both the farmers and traders. He said, "I have come to Meghalaya to do some business. I learnt that bananas from the region are good and started buying them from here and selling them in Guwahati market and later decided to take it to Bihar. The cultivation of bananas has helped the farmers as well as traders, who are dependent on each other for sustenance." With the increasing temperatures in the area which will likely make the conditions more favorable for production, the framers can reap more benefits. (ANI)
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