KIWI: The Next Major Cash Crop of Arunachal Pradesh?
It was in the month of October last year (2020) when Arunachal Pradesh emerged as the first state in India to obtain an organic certification for kiwi. The certification was provided by the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER). An organic certification in India is obtainable only after a strict scientific assessment is carried out by a regulatory body. In this case, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) assessed the kiwi harvest in the region to ensure that no chemical fertilisers or pesticides were being used in the cultivation process of the produce.
Not long ago, on 27th of November 2021, a consignment of 6MT organic kiwi from Ziro got launched by Union Law Minister Shri KIren Rijiju along with MoS Agriculture Shri Kailesh Choudhary at the mega National Tribal Festival observed at Delhi Haat. It was later followed by a live cooking session where dishes made with kiwis were demonstrated and sample tasting was carried out by the dignitaries present. The occasion was also officially acknowledged and appreciated by Hon’ble PMO Shri Narendra Modi when he took to twitter calling the fruit ‘delicious’ and a must have in homes.
So how did a fruit from the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh reach the heart of India?
The fact is that although the state of Arunachal Pradesh is only now catching up with various developmental projects, the region always did display a great potential when it came to agriculture, horticulture and tourism.
The state benefits from varied agro-climatic conditions and favourable topography, making it ideal for the same to flourish. If we look at around twenty years ago, kiwis used to grow abundantly in the wild regions of Ziro Valley. But at the time, it didn’t yield potential market value from buyers and often laid to rot in the ground. The limited viability of the fruit back then is attributed to geographical constraints and lack of cold storage facilities.
However, with changing times, combined efforts by local entrepreneurs and the farming community have enabled the kiwis to fetch a decent market value. It was in the year 2000, when a domestic variety of kiwis produced in Arunachal were commercial introduced for the first time. The exotic fruit has gained popularity since then and received organic certification from APEDA under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East region (MOVCD-NER) in 2020.
With this new milestone, Arunachal Pradesh becomes the first state to receive organic certification for kiwis, garnering national attention. The recognition will not only bring commercial benefits to the local kiwi farmers and highly boost the local economy, but will also put Arunachal Pradesh on the national spotlight as a potential producer paving an opening for other potential products from the state.