SOCIAL NEWS

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival


Strawberry Festival


The Picturesque hills of Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya near the Sohliya Village had been transformed from a sleepy hamlet to a vibrant model of horticulture-led development, and the originator of Meghalaya’s strawberry revolution. And on February 14, a romantic mood was created to bring in not just a good harvest but to usher in Valentine day as well.

Strawberry Festival - one world news

Various pastries delicacies filled with strawberry filling.

It was a celebration of purity and sensuality, fertility and abundance, humility and modesty. The Strawberry is known for its simple-goodness- delicious flavor and fragrance. Strawberry, a symbol of happiness, love and success. The day was a fun filled family affair filled with various musical acts, and a display of various products from the well-established farms to the more independent farmers exhibiting their produce. And the stalls were full of varieties of strawberry wines, jams and pastries filled strawberries.

Strawberry Festival - one world news

Local cultural performers from the nearby village performing to the audience

Fourteen years ago, their energetic and effervescent headman, Mr. O. Lyngkhoi Bah (Brother) O as he is affectionately known, started this humble initiative of planting a couple of seeds. He has expanded his own cultivation from a few plants, to more than an acre of immaculately contoured strawberry cultivation; all of it with well laid and maintained drip irrigation. He has experimented with new forms of mulching, and brought the other farmers together into an association that carries out post-harvest grading and marketing operations.


The Ri-Bhoi Strawberry Growers Association (RBSGA) is now a market player and exporter and a force to contend with in the delicious world of strawberries. As members of Agrozonex farms mentions “To promote rural tourism and agriculture tourism, farmers were given the support to pick up organic agriculture.”

Strawberry Festival - one world news

Stall filled with packets of strawberry on sale. Photo down. Local independent farmers selling various types of produce to the visitors at the venue

Indeed, Sohliya village has shown the way! In fact so confident are the Strawberry farmers of Ri Bhoi today that in 2010 the RBSGA has gone in for an outright crop loan of ` 91.5lakhs to enable them to expand the cultivation of this ‘fruit of change’.

Strawberry Festival - one world news

Stall filled with packets of strawberry on sale. Photo down. Local independent farmers selling various types of produce to the visitors at the venue

The village is an example of the benefits that can accrue to a community that works together on the cultivation of low volume high value crops, and of the catalytic impact and change that well implemented government schemes can bring about. To grow into a C2C Agri-Business initiative that is a commercially successful model for emulation, and a vehicle for the economic up liftmen of the people.


Picture Credits : Peter Wallang, Shillong, One World News.


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