Tura, Feb 18: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma visited the Ramie Demonstration Unit and Nursery at Bolmedang village, near Kharkutta in North Garo Hills and also interacted with the local farmers on Friday evening.
On his arrival, the Chief Minister was received by local MLA & Parliamentary Secretary, PWD (Roads) Cherak W. Momin, North Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner S.C, Sadhu, State Consultant, Ramie Project, Mira Marak, Assistant Director, Agriculture, Merril N. Sangma, District Horticulture Officer Susan Marak and other officials at the Unit.
Ramie (Boehmeria Nivea), commonly known as Chi grass, is a fibre crop indigenous to Garo Hills and grows wild in the jungles even though the crop is being grown for fibre in Chi, Brazil, Taiwan and other countries. Known as “Kilkra” in Garo, it is said to be the strongest known tural fibre.
While its fibres can be made to various kinds of fabrics for clothing and other uses, its leaves and stalks can be used as fodder for livestock.
It may be recalled that the State Government under Chief Minister’s leadership had launched a scheme for introducing Ramie cultivation in the State in 2015 not only to give a boost to State’s economy and create livelihood opportunities to the farmers, but also to create sustaible ecology.
Besides the farmers, hundreds of people from the nearby villages gathered at the unit to meet Dr. Mukul Sangma as he is the first Chief Minister to visit the area till date.
In his interaction with the local people, the Chief Minister highlighted on the various uses of Ramie and its huge potential as a cash crop. He also explained about the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties present in Ramie fabric, which makes it the most sought after fabric for use as linen in hospitals. He said that plantations of ramie, agar and bamboo having huge business scopes were being taken up across the State so that the farmers can have sustaible livelihood opportunities in their own backyard. He also urged upon the department officials to organize workshops to the farmers in the area so that they can get optimum benefit from the scheme.
Earlier, the Assistant Director, Agriculture, M.N. Sangma explained to the farmers on the method of ramie cultivation and harvesting, besides its uses and economic value.