GUWAHATI: Meghalaya’s Nongspung village in East Khasi Hills District started to garner global attention. Roughly 50 km away from the capital city of Shillong, Nongspung has now become one of the tourist attractions of the neighboring state but for a different reason. Visitors in the village now can pluck the exotic Kiwi fruit which until some years ago was imported from New Zealand.
But the change was neither easy nor it happened overnight. It needed 58-year-old Midalis Lyngdoh, a primary school teacher’s untiring efforts. In 2011, her farming story began when her brother Bah Swerding gave her 12 saplings which he acquired from the horticulture department.
Medalis planted the saplings and since then she has reaped the benefits of what she has sown. The kiwi she plants were of the Hayward (female) and Tomuri (male) species and they usually take some two years to grow. Three years of tending to the plants finally showed results and she started selling the fruit in the village itself.
Sharing the journey, Lyngdoh said, “I first brought two male and eight female Kiwi plants. It was advised that one male plant is needed for every one-to-eight female plants and that the Kiwi takes three years to fruit. I gave the plants to my sister since she has land. But after some two years, my sister became impatient and wanted to cut off the vine. However, we decided to give it one more year and it was great when in the third year the flowers bloomed and then the fruit. And now we are reaping the harvest.”
Soon Nongspung received funding from Meghalaya Basin Development Agency and Basin Developmental Unit (East Khasi Hills) acted as the implementing agency under the Project of Vegetative propagation of Kiwi fruit plantation.
Inspired by her success story, Medalis’s siblings also started growing kiwi. Now the entire family is involved in farming kiwi, even the children have taken up farming and now plant medicinal plants and vegetables too.
Adding value to the fruit, Midali’s family is also now engaged in processing the fruit into jam. The fruit ripens from the month of October to December which is also a lean period for other fruits in the Indian market.
Sharing her success story, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on Saturday tweeted: “Midalis Lyngdoh, is the 1st #Kiwi Farmer in Nongspung, #Meghalaya. Kiwi was imported from New Zealand but through the efforts of our #Farmers & funding from @mbda_meghalaya, this exotic fruit is now available locally.”