IMPHAL June 13: The 3rd State level Watermelon Festival kicked off today at the campus of Iboyaima Shumang Lila Shanglen, Palace Compound.
The festival was organised by The Nahakpam Foundation for Development (NFD) under the initiative of MIDH, Department of Horticulture.
Delivering his key note address, NFD secretary, N Santa said that farmers in the state earlier did not realised the value of watermelon with the failure of the concerned department to initiate proper step. The revolution of watermelon began in 2012 when farmers across the state started planting the crop at vast.
Briefing on the objective of the festival, he opined that it was a platform to bridge the gap between farmer and buyers.
He further informed that as a part of the festival the organizer is due to conduct painting competition under the theme “Our Farmers and Farm” for two category including class three to six and seven to eight.
AAO Horticulture, Kh Upendra Singh in his guest of honor speech, pointed out that it was first introduced to farmers in the year 2010-11 of the commercialize value and initially cultivation began in Uchekon and Tokpaching areas. Since its introduction watermelon plantation has been gradually growing.
He appealed the farmers to cultivate the crop phase by phase to allow the consumer to enjoy the fruit throughout the year.
Delivering his chief guest speech, Thanga MLA, T Mangibabu lauded the organisers for conducting such festival which not only serve as an encouragement to the farmers but also acknowledging the hard working farmers.
Such initiative can give a boost to the farmer thereby helping the economy of the state, added Mangibabu.
AO, Soil Conservation, K Jugeshchandra Sharma claiming watermelon the most appropriate crop (Rabi crop) he said that farmer can take up watermelon cultivation in the entire valley district.
He further suggested the farmers to cultivate hybrid seeds inorder to increase production.
Altogether 16 stall were open during the festival with participants (famers) from various places of valley district including Tokpa Ching SHG, Terakhongsangbi Development Farmers Club, Naodakhong Progressive Farmers Club, Wangoo Naodakhong, Uyungpok Mamang Leikai, Uchekon, Irengbam, Kakching Khunou, Wangoo Sondakhong, Keirenphabi Farmers Club, Keibi, Serou, Maklang, Langmeidong and two stall from Heirok Part II.