Meghalaya Coconut Cocoa & Spices Development Project
Meghalaya has about 2.13 lakh hectares of fallow land, 65,000 hectares is concentrated in West Khasi Hills District and 46 ,000 hectares in West Garo Hills. These two districts account for more than half of the fallow land in the state. South Garo Hills also has high share of fallow land in the geographical area, though it is not very large in absolute terms because of the small size of the state. The extent of fallow land is highly correlated with the extent of Jhum land, as the land abandoned after jhum cultivation, will be in the form of fallow land. Given the large extent of fallow land and abandoned jhum land in Garo Hills, there is great potential to convert this land for providing sustainable livelihood to the people. Garo Hills has suitable agro-climatic conditions for coconut cultivation. In recent times coconut and cocoa cultivation has gained momentum in the country have shifted to this mixed cropping. Being a deciduous crop, cocoa provides a lot of green manure to coconut. In addition to cocoa, spices can also be planted as mixed crop. In the first years, there will be scope to grow some annual crop.
- To develop coconut, cocoa and black pepper plantations on 1000 acres of land and provide Sustainable livelihood to 1000 farmers.
- To bring 1000 acres of fallow or abandoned Jhum land under productive use.
- To develop the needed infrastructure like planting material and organic manure production.
- To develop producers’ organizations for managing the post harvest aspects.
- To help the farmers in obtaining organic certification through an identified NGO.
- To expand knowledge base and build capacities of the farmers in the cultivation practices.
- To provide services at the door step of the farmers through Multiple Service Providers.
Scope of the Project:
The Northeast Region is rich in bio diversity and blessed with fertile soil and favorable agro-climatic conditions making it suitable for coconut -cocoa based mixed farming system. Coconut - cocoa based mixed farming system has been successfully practiced in Kerela and other states for many decades. This system also accommodates other crops like spices, fruits, vegetables, fodder, herbs etc. This model can be popularized in Meghalaya through orchard project. Most of the developed countries have realized the significance of coconut as miracle food because of its high content of lauric acid and tender coconut as health drink. The demand for coconut oil and coconut products has been growing steadily both in domestic and export market. World’s heading cocoa producing country is Ivory Coast and it is predicated that by 2014 there will be 45% shortage for cocoa bean in the world. With the implementation of “Meghalaya Coconut Cocoa & Spices Development Project”, the plantations will be develop with cocoa as mixed crop. Presently India contributes only 0.3% of the world cocoa production and it has high demand both nationally and internationally.
Initially the project will be implemented in the region of Garo Hills District which will be gradually extended to other parts in the Khasi Hills region of the state in a phase manner. The Project will not accept any forest area.
The project will be first implemented in Five C & RD Blocks in Garo Hills Region;
West Garo Hills
: Dalu, Gambegre, & Rongram
South Garo Hills
: Baghmara & Gasuapara.
The Meghalaya coconut cocoa & Spices Development Project (MCCSDP) aims at improving the life of 1000 families which will have an impact on about 5000 people living in Meghalaya.
Project Period: 5 Years
The Rs. 10 Crores project will be implemented by the Meghalaya State Rural Livelihoods Society (MSRLS) in a Phase manner with the assistance of several departments. The Task Force at the State Level with the Principal Secretary, C&RD department as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MSRLS as Member Secretary will guide the implementation of the project.The Project cost will be borne by the Government, Banks and Beneficiary contribution in the ratio 60:25:15. Bank contribution will be in the form of loan and beneficiary contribution will be in the form of labour supply.
FOARD will provide the technical support and IOFPCL or INDOCERT will provide organic certification. The project will have convergence with other Schemes and technical Departments such as, Soil & Water Conservation, State Marketing Department, Horticulture department.
Expected Benefits of The Project:
1)Economic Benefit: - This project will provide occupation to the tribal people, raise income and purchasing capacity and improve the standard a better living with better health and hygiene. The group farming practice adopted by the farmer groups can create a collective marketing system in the region for the better marketing of the products. Organic certification of the products will ensured increased market access both in domestic and international markets assuring better incomes for the farmers. The income generation activities of the project will motivate the farmers to provide better education to their children. The project will provide the economic and nutritional security to the beneficiary families.
2)Environmental Impact: - Slash and burn practice is followed widely for paddy cultivation in the region. By implementing “The Meghalaya coconut Cocoa & Spices Development Project”, the land is brought under perennial crops that will provide dense canopy with crop diversity and will stop the tendency to follow shifting cultivation. The practice of mixed cropping of organic coconut – cocoa based farming system will improve the soil fertility and conserve the soil in the sloppy areas preventing soil erosion thus conserving the environment.