Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former minister Jairam Ramesh, who is also poll observer for Manipur on January 16 took to twitter with Chonmila Kashung, a Tangkhul cultivator of the famous Kachai Lemon in Ukhrul district in Manipur and said, “With Chonmila Kashung who cultivates the famous Kachai Lemon(Kachai Champra) in Ukhrul district of Manipur. This lemon variety was accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2013. It is 100% organic! More power to progressive farmers like her in Manipur”.
Kachai village is located about some 43 km from Ukhrul town towards the extreme western corner of the district. It has around 530 households and half of its population is engaged in lemon farming as a main source of livelihood. The 18th Kachai (State Level) Lemon Festival 2022 concluded recently.
Popularly known as Kachai Lemon, the fruit has a unique flavour and a high content of citric acid unlike other citric fruits. Because of its uniqueness the Kachai Lemon has been accorded geographical indication (GI) registration namely, (GI-466).
The exotic ‘Kachai Lemon’ of Kachai village was also made available to public at reasonable rates through home delivery by Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) in 2021.
Jairam Ramesh’s tweet comes in a time when farmers in Manipur have called for a holistic agricultural policy for the farmers of the State through an inclusive process. A joint press release by Loumi Sinmi Apun Lup (LOUSAL), Human Right Alert (HRA) and Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), famers hailing from all the districts of Manipur, adopted several declarations and resolutions on January 15.
In another tweet that followed, the former minister tweeted, “Met delegation of farmers & Human Rights Law Network. We accepted their demands for holistic agriculture & horticulture policy. Congress party will go the extra mile for prosperity of farmers of both Valley & Hills of Manipur—for irrigation,easy credit & local procurement.”
It may be mentioned that the former minister remark in his last September 2021 visit to Manipur about urea being diverted to hill areas in Manipur for poppy cultivation did not go down well with the hill tribals of Manipur. The Tangkhul Naga Long, the apex civil organization of the Tangkhul tribe of Ukhrul and Kamjong districts had refuted his remark sharply stating that his remark was misleading and far from the truth. TNL had criticised Jairam Ramesh’s remark, and categorically refuted his assertions saying,“hill people of Ukhrul and Kamjong districts and its areas are not “lawless people,” and such uninvited derogatory remarks may not be passed on us for political mileage and to tarnish the image of the hill people.”