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Academic

Experiences and Learning of Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand- Sharing of my second fieldwork

Dear Readers

This report summary is not a peace of my work but more that that, it is my first report with I am emotionally attached. Since my graduation, I always thought that someday I will so study on Fruit cultivation and its marketing status in Uttarakhand; in this spring I got this chance in Nathuakhan in district Nainital, Uttarakhand. here I am sharing a overview of my report and my findings

Research topic

Present Status of Fruit Cultivation, Its Impact on Hill Farmers, Future Challenges and Opportunities in Reetha, Uttarakhand

Introduction

Housing distribution in Hill region of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand has a huge natural resource for different verities of fruit cultivation. The major grown fruits in this Hill state are Mango, Apple, Palm, Peach, Pear, Plum, Apricot, Strawberry, number of citrus fruits, Walnut and so on. In Uttarakhand, at present maximum area under fruit cultivation is covered by Mango (19%), followed by Apple (15%); other major fruits which grown in upper hills are walnut, Malta, orange, and other citrus fruits. Maximum hill population who are living at the higher altitudes where irrigation facilities are not available, so most of the hill agricultural activities are highly diverted towards the forest for fodder and medicines, fruit and vegetable cultivation. Reported land under tree crops (it does not include those trees that comes under forest area) is 4.75% under which .64 million ton fruit produced in year 2005-6 (Uttarakhand annual report 2010-11).

Study Objectives

I.        Analyse the present context of hill farming—for instance, measuring the involvement of farmers, understand the status of social, financial, human, natural and physical assets, land use pattern and land use for fruit cultivation.

II.        Analyze the present context of hill farming with special reference of fruit cultivation; measure the involvement of population in fruit cultivation, nature of harvesting pattern and marketing opportunities of harvesting fruit products.

III.        To determine the total post harvesting wastages in percentage for different commercially cultivated fruit species.

IV.        Identify the thrust area and key issues for improvement in future for fruit production in terms of production, value addition, storage, processing, and marketing.

Area of study

This study was conducted in the Ramgarh area comes under the Nainital district of Uttarakhand state. Study location is far from main block office Ramgarh. Total 56 villages come under Ramgarh block. This study conducted in two neighbour villages, Meora and Gadgaon. This geographic location comes under the temperate zone and the average height of the study location was more around 1900 meter. Ramgarh region falls under the rain fed zone where precipitation is seasonal and uncertain. This study is based on study of 35 samples from both the villagers.

Table 1- Demography Status

Village

Total households

Male

Female

Population

Meora

51

174

174

348

Gadgaon

73

222

194

416

Source-Secondary data

Table 1-Geographic location of study area

Occupation analysis in Meora and Gadgaon

Table 2- People involvement in different activities

Involvement in different occupations
Livelihood Activities Meora Gadgaon
Agriculture

18

16

Driving

4

3

Agri labour

14

13

Casual labour

9

8

CHIRAG worker

3

5

Weaving work

8

6

Private Job

5

6

Meora and Gadgaon are primarily engaged in the agricultural activities, in off season families are also engaged in number of other activities. Other than agriculture, major livelihood activities in both the villages are driving, construction labour work, Labour work in tea gardens, dairy, CHIRAG workers, private jobs, and sweater weaving. People have number of sources for small income generation. Women are mostly involved in the agriculture and number of seasonal livelihood activities for small incomes. Men also helped in agriculture activities during peak season. the major challenge here in both the villages is the productivity of labour is limited; People do not get work in off season. Migration is not a common practice adopt by farmers and very few migrated seasonally to Haldwani and Delhi for work. The women are major work force in the village and they take anchor role for all the household activities, it is terrible to see that in spite of all household responsibilities hill women always dominated by male part who are mainly drain the money in alcoholism.  CHIRAG supported work for weaving is very much adopted by young girls in off season.

Land resource and land use pattern in Meora and Gadgaon

Meora and Gadgaon both the villages come under rain fed zone. As shown in Table 3, out of total land holding, more than 90% land is un irrigated land, highly dependent on precipitation. During the study, out of total 35 samples, every low income family have average 18.6 Nali land in Meora and 12.5 Nali land in Gadaon. More than 90% land is not irrigated and out of total land resources, average 70% land is used for fruit cultivation. So it is understood that fruit cultivation has major contribution in all different agricultural activities.

Fruit tree resources and total fruit production

A wide range of fruit trees are grown in study location. Major fruit trees which are commercially cultivated are Peach, Pear, Plum, Apple, and Apricot. Other than that Wall nut, Citrus fruits, and other wild fruits also grown for sale in local market at limited scale.

Table 4-Furit tree resources in Meora and Gadgaon

Village

Peach

Plum

Apricote

Apple

Pear

Total

Meora

1267

295

107

253

329

2251

Gadgaon

818

147

39

241

303

1548

Source-Primary Data

In total study samples, total calculated fruit tree resources are very high. In Meora village, 18 households have around 4000 fruit trees of major commercial fruits. In Gadgaon also total 17 study samples have more than 2500 trees. It includes both productive and newly planted trees.

In Meora and Gadgaon village, fruit cultivation status in satisfactory and per tree fruit productivity is good in normal climatic conditions. In total studied 35 samples, total fruit production was around 57ooo kg from all the marketable fruit species. In table 5 total fruit production is taken in full case unit. It is the common measure used for marketing. One full case is equal to 15 Kg fruit.

Table 5-Fruit production status in Meora and Gadgaon

Village Peach Plum Apricote Apple Pear Total
Meora

2875

332

161

408

200

3976

Gadgaon

1932

133

32

347

112

2556

Source-Primary data

The total fruit production which is shown here in table 5 is only for five major marketable fruit species. Other than this, other fruits are also cultivated in farms which have a good market demand and good market price. All these fruits are harvested in May to July. Citrus fruits harvested in winter but that production is limited and only used for own consumption; only few families sales surplus product of fruits in market.

Post harvest wastage of fruits

Out of total fruit cultivation in Meora and Gadgaon, around 23% and 20% fruit is going to be waste in the field itself before and reaching up to Mandi and Collective.

Table 6-Post harvest wastage in Meora and Gadgaon

Post harvesting wastage in %

Village

Peach

Plum

Apricot

Apple

Pear

Average Wastage

Meora

23.82

31.5

26.83

13.38

19.46

22.998

Gadgaon

23.35

24.72

23.44

12.46

16.76

20.146

Source-Primary data

Farmers are realizing that a huge amount of fruit product is going to be wastage. Table 7 indicates that in Mepora and Gadgaon there is high demand for post harvest operation facilities but still farmers do not have access for any of them and they are force to sell all fruit product direct in market at any given price.

Table 7- Farmers’ demand in % for different post harvesting facilities

Village

Grading

Storage

Processing

Value addition

Packing

Meora

100

100

85

90

90

Gadgaon

100

90

80

85

95

Source-Primary data

Key findings of this study

  1. Meora and Gadgaon have more than 90% land under unirrigated zone. No irrigation facilities are available for fruit cultivation and agriculture activities.
  2. Marketed surplus and marketable surplus is equal for total fruit production.
  3. 50% of total farmers prepare their own planting material for fruit cultivation. Others are dependent on local market and horticulture department.
  4. Average labor involvement in fruit cultivation during off season is around 2 hour and 10-13 hour during peak season.
  5. 75 % farmers do not use chemical fertilizer for fruit cultivation but 100% used chemical pesticides for Peach.
  6. Out of 17, in Gadgaon 4 and in Meora 6 Cooperative members never sale their product in Collective cum Cooperative.
  7. More than 60 % women do not have any idea about trade system in Mandi.
  8. Apple is now gradually covered by Peach fruit because of few major factors.
  9. Identification of poor is very difficult on the basis of net land availability and Housing poverty index.
  10. Storage, processing, and value addition has a tremendous scope in Meora and Gadgavn.

The data which I collected for my study was by different methods, focus group discussion, questionnaire method, secondary data collection form CHIRAG office, and desk research are the sources for all information.

This study has its limitation also because of that it cannot be generalise as such in other areas also. The major limitations are following-

I.        Monkey problem

II.        Topography

III.        Soil texture

IV.        Temperature

V.        CHIRAG presence and farmers’ awareness

VI.        Physical infrastructure

This systematic research was an eye opening experience for me, what is the meaning of in depth study, what is the use of different software for analysis and hoe to use it, how to present data in effective manner, proper design use of data collection tools and so on, many new horizons of a research I tried to touch in this fieldwork. Before leaving for this study also I went through a rigorous process of literature review on that particular subject that I would also like to share. Hope I will get valuable suggestions from my readers that how I can improve my skills for future studies.

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