Shillong, April 18: Quoting Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, legislator from Mawphlang, Syntar Klas Sunn tried to draw a similarity between the evolution of man and the conversion of forest produce into agricultural crops for the benefit of farmers.
Taking part on a motion to discuss the plight of farmers of the State who are cultivating broomstick, bay leaf and wild black pepper during the Budget session of the Meghalaya Assembly, Independent legislator from Mawphlang, Syntar Klas Sunn pointed out that at one point of time strawberry (locally known as soh shan in the Khasi language) grew wild and still does in the State.
“But now the horticulture department has recognized (its value) and it is being grown commercially in Ri-Bhoi district,” Sunn told the House.
The Independent legislator from Mawphlang pointed out that if the government recognises broomstick, bay leaf and wild black pepper as agricultural crops which till today are forest products, it will be beneficial for the farmers of the state.
Sunn also pointed out that wild black pepper has become endangered species but if grown domestically the product will be saved from extinction. “Also it will improve livelihood of the farmers,” the Independent MLA said.
Earlier initiating the debate on the motion, Congress legislator from Mawsynram, Himalaya M Shangpliang pointed out that while the Agriculture Department discourages farmers from growing broomstick since according to them it consumes too much water but it was encouraging bamboo cultivation. Urging the state government to recognise broomstick, bay leaf and wild black pepper as agricultural product, the Mawsynram legislator said that by doing so it will generate revenue for the farmers. “The need of the hour is that these crops should be recognised as agricultural crops and not as forest products anymore,” Shangpliang said.
Former cabinet minister, Zenith Sangma, said that there is ample scope for employment in the agriculture sector but it is not being realised.