Garo Hills communities exchange saplings to increase diversity

Monoculture has proven to be both a blessing and boon for some farmers across several areas in Meghalaya. However, this type of farming goes against traditional farming and also ensures no crop diversity in that particular area.

Community members of Samingre, West Garo Hills, recently expressed their concerns about how there was a shift in the cultivation of crops/decrease in the number of crops grown in the area. Their main concern was people have indulged themselves in monoculture – more tea gardens are coming up.

On the other hand, community members of Daribokgre often forage citrus fruits (commonly found in the area) from the base of the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve which is known for its citrus fruits varieties. There are almost 13 varieties of citrus fruits — both cultivated and wild – that are known to the community people of Daribokgre.
On hearing about the rich diversity in Daribokgre, community members of Samingre
requested the latter community to exchange saplings and seeds so that they can diversify their production.

Seed Saplings Exchange

Community members exchanging saplings

Members of Daribokgre community, East Garo Hills, visited Samingre community and
offered the community members their citrus fruits saplings like pomelo, lime, oranges, etc.
The community members were extremely happy on receiving the saplings as they said that
they will be a good addition to the vegetation in the area.

Faira Ch Marak, a community member of Samingre, said, “Only a few varieties of fruit trees are known to us here and we do not even know what their additional values are.” “We are grateful to the members of Daribokgre for introducing us to these citrus fruits and we look forward to taking care of them and help also come up with more saplings in the future,” she added.

This will help increase the number number of fruit varieties in the area and this in turn will help the community to build a sustainable food system.
Sengte Ch Marak, a custodian farmer and a community member of Daribokgre, said “I would like to thank the NESFAS team for initiating these exchange visits where we not only exchange seeds and saplings but traditional knowledge as well. We are glad that we could introduce citrus plants to Samingre community and now, we look forward to exchanging more plants in the future.”

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Damica M Mawlong
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