Maroi Nakuppi farmers in despair

Imphal: Maroi Nakuppi farmers in Manipur have encountered a deplorable state of living as their daily earning opportunity has been shattered with the suspension of harvesting and marketing of “Maroi Nakuppi” due to Total lockdown in the state.

Maroi Nakkupi, botanically known as Allium Hookeri is a plant consumed by every native in the state as food items and as green spice in cuisines.

Majority of the people of Moirang Kampu Sajeb Awang Leikai, Imphal East today face the impact of total lockdown imposed in wake of Covid-19.  About 95 percent of the villagers are Nakuppi farmers and they depend their livelihood on Nakuppi.  There are about 150 households in the village.

“The income earned from the cultivation of Nakuppi helps us in maintaining our family and meeting the expenditures for our children’s education and other contingencies. But due to lockdown the produce cannot be marketed. Farmers have stopped harvesting it. Now our major source of income has been cut-off,” Chingkhamyum Saratchandra Singh, a farmer, told Pothashang.

“As harvesting the crop has stopped people in the jobless village are suffering to a great extent,” he said and urges the government to make a suitable arrangement to market the produce amid the government measures to contain the contagion.

Farmer : Chingkhamyum Saratchandra Singh

This will not only help the farmers to sustain their daily occupation but also help to make it available to the people, he added.

Generally a family can earn at the range of Rs 700 to Rs 2000 per day depending on situations.

The village traders take it to major market centres in the state besides trading it to Khwairamband Ima Keithel in Imphal City. It is dispatched to markets at Nambol, Bishnupur ,Moirang, Thoubal and even to the Indo-Myanmar border town Moreh, Saratchandra said.

With the enforcement of nationwide lockdown the major markets have been shut down. In the early phases when there were relaxations the produce were dispatched at mini-markets at Kongba, Singjamei and Andro parking areas after communicating on phone with the traders there, he added.

“As the pandemic is likely to have community transmission, people here have decided to stop harvesting the crop to trade,” the farmer said.

All the farmers do not own land. They use lands at the cost of 15-20 bags of rice in a year. They are in dilemma of meeting the cost of land-use, he said.

The decomposed crop can only be used as manure in future. This situation results to a huge loss for the farmers, he said.

To start farming of Nakuppi in a field of one Sangam (about .25 hectare) it requires a capital sum of Rs 1 Lakh. It can be harvested every 25 days from a bed. Though the farming of the crop is simple it requires proper management with regular supply of water, fertilizer and protection from the invasion of grasses and pests, he said.

The crop is harvested by cutting it at its base and it naturally grows up.

“Maroi Nakuppi is the main source of income. It was comparatively better when the lockdown had some relaxations, but with the strict imposition of total lockdown we have no means of earning. We want the government to look into the matter for the welfare of the people here,” Yumnam Ongbi Muhila, a farmer said.

“We heard that the state government is procuring pineapples from farmers to market it outside the state. I believe that the income from farming Maroi Nakuppi in Sajeb area will exceed that of pineapple, because Nakuppi is produced throughout the year,” Saratchandra said while drawing the attention of the government to Nakkupi farmer’s trouble.

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