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Friday, October 19, 2018

Smt. Trinity Saioo- A Successful Woman Farmer honoured for Excellence in Horticulture Production

Smt.Trinity Saioo receiving the Award from Union Minister of Agriculture

Trinity Saioo, a mother of 6 children comprising of 3 sons and 3 daughters and 5 grandsons lives in Mulieh village in West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. Her village, a nondescript village comprises of 230 households and practicing traditional agriculture. What is unique about this village though is the fact that all the household here now grows the Prized Lakadong Turmeric, because of the innovative and hard work of one lady farmer, who led from the front with exemplary and steadfast leadership. Lakadong Turmeric, which is grown in Laskein CD  block of West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, has become very popular in recent years due to its high curcurmin content of above 7 %  and has high market demand for its unique taste, flavour, aroma and vibrant yellow color.

Growing Lakadong Turneric variety was not a traditional crop in this village. In fact the farmers of this village grows a different variety of turmeric known as “Lachein.” This variety of turmeric has poor cucurmin content, less market demand and hence could not fetch a good price in the market. Being poor and illiterate farmers, majority of them are not aware about this superior variety called “Lakadong.”  It was only in the year 2003 that Smt. Saioo, a Graduate brought this lakadong variety and planted in her own fields. As a result, she could earn twice the amount compared to income from growing the Lachein variety. The very next year, Smt. Saioo persuaded her fellow villagers to switch to this new variety “Lakadong” and many from her villages followed her footsteps. However, the high cost of seed tubers was a dampener for the resource poor farmers as they could not afford to buy more in order to replace their traditional variety.

Smt. Trinity Saioo took the burden upon herself to help her fellow villagers and approached Spices Board in Shillong for help. She also took upon herself to help 25 farmers with the necessary documentation to avail financial and technical support from Spices Board. With the assistance from Spices Board, she and 25 other farmers started replacing their traditional turmeric with Lakadong variety. This assistance from Spices Board continued for 4 years and in this period, the farmers of Mulieh Village were transformed economically due to the switch over to Lakadong variety which fetches them double their previous earnings. Two of her farmers, Smt. Marlin Dhar and Smt. Rosa Dhar from Mulieh village testified that it was Trinity Saioo who motivated them and as a result they have been able to construct their own houses from growing Lakadong variety of Turmeric

Since then, there was no turning back for this village. Smt. Trinity Saioo started motivating other farmers from adjoining villages of Madankynsaw, Mynktung, Rtiang, Pyntei and Laskein to switch over to Lakadong variety. She mobilised about 800 farmers to cultivate this Lakadong variety in their respective villages as ICAR research has also indicated uniqueness of this ecological situation which enables the lakadong variety to perform exceedingly well while yielding very high cucurmin content, compared to other geographical locations in the State.  This unique natural advantage has given the farmers of this area a golden opportunity to produce one of the best turmeric spice in the State.

There is no stopping for Smt. Saioo- her vocal nature and strong leadership qualities egg her to push forward with her mission.  With 800 farmers with her, she started a co-operative society known as “Ieng Skhem Spice Producer Industrial Co-operative Society”  in order to organise the production and marketing of this spice. She also associated her Society with “Life Spice Federation of Self Help Groups of Laskein CD Block in order to rejuvenate this federation. She along with the other women members of the federation started value addition activities of Lakadong Turmeric through drying, slicing, powdering (grinding) and packaging. Under her leadership, the federation started to explore market linkages on their own for selling the value added Lakadong Turmeric. The federation started their own processing factory called Life Spice and started paying better prices to farmers, who sold their produce to the federation.

In early 2018 when the State Government was exploring ways to expand production of Lakadong Turmeric in Lakein CD Block, Smt. Trinity Saioo was in the forefront of nudging the State Government to launch Lakadong Turmeric Mission with the objective of upscaling the production and productivity of Lakadong Turmeric.

Smt. Trinity Saioo, with the Citation 
Today Smt. Trinity Saioo has 100 numbers of Turmeric SHG’s under her federation and she is also the Assistant General Secretary of the Federation. Under her leadership, the federation is able to export Lakadong Turmeric to southern State like Kerala , Karnataka and other North Eastern States.

The federation also sells directly to wholesale buyers and retailers through courier agencies when they receive orders for this prized spice. On 15th October 2018, Smt. Trinity Saio was felicitated and honoured for her valuable contribution and innovative work by the Union Ministry of Agriculture for ‘Excellence in Horticulture’ during the celebration of Mahila Kisan Divas 2018, which was held in NASC Complex, Pusa New Delhi. She received the Award in person from the Union Minister of Agriculture, Shri. Radha Mohan Singh at a glittering function graced by 40 other successful farm women from across the country.    


( Written by Shri. C.S.Shabong, Assistant Director of Agriculture(info), Directorate of Agriculture, Meghalaya, Email: csshabong@gmail.com) 

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