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Planting hub on anvil

Govt takes steps to preserve orange saplings

By Lamphrang Nongspung

 

People buy oranges at Oranges Festival held at Sohra on Tuesday. (ST)

SOHRA: With an aim to preserve Khasi mandarin (orange), the State government will soon set up a Planting Makers Hub where orange saplings would be produced in a large quantity.

Informing this, Horticulture department director Dr CO Rangad said the hub, which would be set up in East Khasi Hills district, would concentrate on producing orange saplings and orchids.

“Similar hubs would be created in other parts of the State which would produce locally available saplings of various fruits and vegetables,” Dr Rangad said while speaking during the inaugural function of the Oranges Festival held St John Higher Secondary School in Maraikaphon, Sohra, on Tuesday.

The necessary fund needed for setting up of the hub had already been allotted in the 12th Five-Year Plan, he said.

He said there was an urgent need to preserve the locally available saplings.

A huge number of orchard farmers especially from Ri-Bhoi have started to purchase orange saplings from other parts of the country especially from Assam.

“I strongly feel there is a need to preserve the Khasi mandarin since this variety of orange is available only in our State,” Dr Rangad said.

The Horticulture Department director said a locally available sapling costs around Rs 15 and the government is providing the same to farmers at a subsidized rate of Rs 7 per sapling. A sapling of other parts of the country costs Re 1 which attracts the local formers, he said.

Others who spoke on the occasion include Sohra MLA Dr PW Khongjee, Sohra MDC Titos Chyne, SDO (Civil) Sohra J Suchiang.

It may be mentioned that a total number of 50,000 oranges are on display at the festival.

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