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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Hmarkhawlien Barak Valley- The Heaven of Pineapple

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Hmarkhawlien Barak Valley is predominantly a horticulture crops based region. The richness in biodiversity and diversified climatic conditions with abundant rainfall make the area favorable for the horticultural and plantation crops.

The area accounts for the major productions of turmeric, chilly, ginger, etc. A wide variety of horticultural crops, fruits and vegetables are grown in this green valley. Fruits like Pineapple, Mango, Jackfruit, Orange, Papaya, are also grown apart from the plantation crops.

Hmarkhawlien Barak Valley

The Queen Pineapple

The renowned Queen Pineapple is spiny, golden yellow in color, with a distinctive aroma, has high juice content, tanginess and sweetness that sets it apart from the pineapples grown in the other parts of the country.

In 1548, the Portuguese traders brought seeds to India after visiting the nearby Indonesian islands. In fact, missionaries from Australia first imported their plants from India’s soils during the early 1800s.

Hmarkhawlien Barak Valley

The Hmar tribal farmers

Barak Valley represents the ideal model of harmonious balance between the needs of human livelihood and natural heritage. The Hmar tribal farmers in villages in Cachar district in the foothills of the Barail mountains, a sub-Himalayan mountain range.

Hmarkhawlien takes pride in representing the world-famous pineapples of Lakhipur sub-division in Cachar district.

Different parts of the pineapple plant are used as medicine to treat various diseases. The root and fruit are either eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory and as a proteolytic agent. It is used as an ant parasitic. A root decoction is used to treat diarrhea.

Hmarkhawlien Barak Valley

The planting

Pineapples are grown as a mixed crop in rubber plantations. Barak region is ideally suited for pineapple production due to its ideal climate and soil conditions. The planting season lasts most of the year, with the exception of the heavy monsoon season. As a result, fruits are available throughout the year.

Pineapple is a humid tropical crop. However, it grows well, both in the plains and at heights, not more than 900 meters. It can grow at a moderate temperature.

Pineapple Features

Pineapple blossoms from February to April, and the fruits are prepared from July to September. Also in the offseason, blossoms show up, producing fruits from September to December.

The average fruit weight is 1kg – 1.4kg. The fruit has a pleasant aroma, slightly conical in shape, fruit eyes, deeply placed, fruit flesh is crisp and golden yellow in color and unique in aroma, flavor and sweetness due to its high sugar content and low acidity. The sugar content of Hmarkhawlien pineapples is between 16 and 18 percent, an all-time-high in the northeast.

Pineapple is widely grown as an immediate income generation crop which will give yield within one year and sustain for three years. The pineapple cultivated by farmers in Hmarkhawlien is the sweetest pineapple available in India. This is why Hmarkhawlien is also known as the heaven of pineapples.

The fruit now represents warm welcomes, celebration and hospitality. These sweet pineapples grown without the use of any artificial fertilizer would find great acceptance in the country. 

The Economoy

In Hmarkhawlien around 1,000 Hmar families are dependent on pineapples for their sustenance and survival and this cash crop is a contributor towards the economic development of Barak Valley as a whole. Hmarkhawlien has emerged as an important center for the plantation of pineapples and its commercial trade.

Approximately  120 crore pineapples are grown in summer and winter sessions. While the production comes down in winter, the demand remains the same.

Hmarkhawlien pineapple is one of the most important tropical fruits grown in the northeastern region and the fiber-rich fruit is cultivated in almost all of the region. Pineapple contains considerable calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.

It is also a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, copper and dietary fiber and also a digestive aid, natural Anti-Inflammatory fruit.

Over the years, Hmar farmers have perfected their manure and cultivation skills to produce the juiciest varieties of pineapple. Hmarkhawlien has 4,000 hectares for pineapple farming. Pineapple grows in abundance in the uplands of Hmarkhawlien, a scenic village in Cachar’s Lakhipur subdivision.

We need to focus on promoting pineapple sourced from farmers in processed form within the country as well as outside of India in collaboration with private entities, it will help farmers in better price realization of their produce. 

Pineapple Varieties 

Kew, Mauritius, Queen, Lakhat, Jaldhup in Assam and other northeastern states. 

Cultivation Time 

August to October in Assam and other North Eastern States. 

Contributed by Jahid Ahmed

Edited by Imtiaz Ullah

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