Maniton yearns for self-reliance in food production

Imphal: Manipur vegetable and fruit grower, Soibam Maniton, a resident of Lilong Arapti in Imphal East takes up integrated farming with the vision to contribute his share in making his village and the state self-reliant in food production.

Maniton, 53, recipient of the 2013 Gaurai Hi-Tech Banana Award set up this integrated farm in February last year. For this he utilised his paddy field of one Sangam (0.252 hectare) for fish, cattle and poultry keeping.

“From my small ponds I could market Rohu fish and collected a sum of about Rs 70,000 during this lockdown. If we work hard we can fulfill our dream despite all problems” Maniton told Pothashang.

He has cattle, chicken, ducks and fish in his farm. At the surrounding of the fish ponds he plants banana trees and papaya.

“In this lockdown I could find buyers for my fish products as the fish brought in from other states have been reduced. Local marketers procure milk, eggs and fowl from my farm. This small integrated farm has become successful,” Maniton said.

During this Covid-19 pandemic crisis the farmer community faces several difficulties. Now the complexity has become lighter. The feeds of poultry and cattle, even though comparatively high in price, are adequately available,” he said.

“Everyone cannot get white colour job. I tried to get a government job. Later I decided to take up private farming,” he said.

He said he is establishing a farmers association in Urup Arapti village. He is also setting up Ngarian Area Village Farmers’ Association by joining hands with the ‘brethren of hills’ to take up pineapple farming.

Maniton is also president of Kanglei Economic Development Organization, an Imphal-based self-help group which has above 150 members.

“I believe that if we work together it will create employment opportunities for the people and help the state’s economy move forward and become a self-reliant state in terms of food production,” Maniton said.

He said youth of the generation need to come together and work harder.

Maniton said he has been following the traditional footsteps of the forefathers in taking up plantation works at the homestead and farms. It is disheartening that the food produced in the state is not sufficient enough to meet the demand for it and have to depend on food produced outside the state, he added.

His family and relatives are engaged in his farm and employs a chowkidar.

The cow dung and the litter from duck and chicken shed are used as organic manures to use in his seasonal vegetable and fruit farm which is about 2 hectare in area.

Maniton started banana plantation in 2009 with the saplings were provided by the directorate of horticulture. He continued the plantation till 2016.

At present he is taking up Dragon Fruit plantation in his larger farm. He said he is planning to resume his banana plantation, for which he is looking for a more suitable place.

His name was included in the booklet ‘The success story of farmers, 2009-10’, published by the agriculture department, New Delhi.

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