MSRLS has taken up Bio Fuel Plantation as one of the Livelihoods Project for enhancing the life of rural people in Meghalaya. It will be an eight years project. In this project plantation of Tree Bearing Oilseeds like Pongamia amenable for the North Eastern States is considered. Pongamia is a leguminous tree which can grows well in the warmer parts of the State with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 50°C. The tree being a legume is preferred for degraded and otherwise uncultivable lands. Pongamia is known for oil production and the husk of the seeds can also be used for domestic fuel and charcoal and the oil cake is used as fertilizer. Hulls produced from the seeds can also be used as briquettes
The project will be initially implemented in the two villages of Narwan and Rymbai of Saipung and Khliehriat block of East Jaintia Hills District .
Area of the land proposed
An area of 500 hectares is required for implementation of the project in the initial period, and both the communities i.e Narwan and Rymbai have allotted an area of 250 hectares each for this purpose. The land allotted by the two communities is a waste land/ idle land which are highly suitable for plantation of Pongamia.
The coordinating agency for the promotion of bio-fuel will be the MSRLS in collaboration with other agency which is yet to be identify for imparting technical knowhow.
Beneficiaries of the Project:
The farmers of both the villages of Narwan and Rymbai will be the main beneficiaries of the project.
A preliminary survey was done to the field along with the farmers. The project will be implemented as soon as the proposal from the district concern has been received and approved and will be implemented in the form of a scheme with 60:20:20 contribution from the Government, bank loan and community contribution.
In the initial year of Pongamia plantation, intercropping of high value crops like turmeric and ginger also can be done since the villages are famous for cultivation of turmeric and it is also one of the turmeric producers in the State. Harvesting of the crops will take 5 years after plantation, where the seeds of the trees can be used for oil extraction and which is selling in the market as fuel for the biodiesel industry. It was known that the leaves of Pongamia while incorporating into soil can also improve the soil fertility.