Garbhanga is a sleepy village unknown to most Guwahatians. But, it lies only only about 20 kms away from Guwahati. It is situated in the on the banks of world-renowned Dipor Bill, in midst of beautiful hills with abundance of natural beauty,. The village is still very isolated socially and economically from the mainstream. It is unbelievable that people living here have to walk about 17 km to reach the nearest market for their daily household needs. Almost the entire population here lives below the poverty line. Agriculture, which is the main source of earnings, is not fetching them a good return in absence of any marketing facility.
In a bid to boost earnings from agriculture, Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS) has recently started a project to promote cultivation of organic ginger and turmeric in the villages around Garbhanga. FASS will provide all necessary inputs and material help, and technological know-how for the project. The villagers will grow organic ginger and turmeric in their own available land. FASS plans to buy back the entire produce and do the needed marketing.
In this connection, a small team of FASS members visited Garbhanga on May 30th, 2008, and held discussions with the villagers and was successful in arriving at an understanding for the implementation of the project. The FASS team was comprised of Jayanta Barman, Santana Sarma, Uttam Teron and Pronoy Das. They spent the day in the villages examining the pros and cons for the project. The villagers accepted the proposal in a very positive manner and were delighted in the prospect of getting healthy earnings from their hard labor. The village women too part energetically in the discussions along with the men. Ruma Ranghan, an elderly village woman and a former member of Gaon Panchayat, is very enthusiastic about the project and said that women will come forward in large numbers to see their earnings grow.
This year about 300 families are expected to cultivate ginger and turmeric in about 50 hectares of land. The amount of products is likely to increase every year. The FASS group will provide expertise for cultivation in a scientific way. As FASS does not have funds to implement such project, the group members are contributing from their own pockets to run the project. We are eagerly waiting to see the result in the month of January 2009, as the harvesting of crop will be over by that time.
By Jayanta Barman, Vice President, FASS, Guwahati