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Kachai Gears Up For Lemon Fest

UKHRUL, Jan 7: ‘Come January and you will be enraptured by the sweet aroma of ‘˜Lemon” is an old saying in the Lemon capital of Manipur-Kachai village of Ukhrul district and it still stands true today.

With the coming of January, the village is once again all set for the 5th edition of Kachai Lemon festival which is due to kick start on January 14. The festival will continue till the evening of January 15 and is expected to be graced by Thangso Baite, MP of Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.

As an added attraction to the festival this time, ICAR would be conducting a scientific research on the growth of the Kachai Lemon in the morning of January 14 while MACS would be organizing a HIV/AIDS awareness camp at the festival site.

Talking to media persons in this connection, proprietor of Hamreikhong, Ukhrul based ‘˜Tuwa‘ products Tuimi Loly, who is also the former organizer of Kachai Lemon festival said that Kachai village is all set to make the festival a grand success inspite of some unnatural phenomenon that resulted in reduction in the size and content of juice in the Lemons this year in comparison to previous years.

Tuimi informed that Kachai village which has a total strength of 350 households and each household has no less than 40 to 60 Lemon trees on their private owned land.  The village used to produce around 500 to 560 kgs of lemon per year, thus earning an estimated annual income of around Rs 5000 to Rs 8000.

This is besides the income generated from paddy cultivation.

When queried why Kachai lemons are famous, Tuimi explained that unlike the other lemon varieties grown in other part, Kachai Lemon is rich acerbic acid content upto 70 to 80 percent. Other Lemon varieties have only 20 to 30 percent of acerbic acid. Moreover flavor of Kachai lemon is different from other Lemon varieties. It is juicier, he added.

One village lady, who also owned a wholesale outlet for marketing Kachai Lemon at Imphal, said that Lemon production in Kachai village has gone down over the years.

During 1990s, not less than 25 to 35 tinfuls of Lemon, which is roughly equal to 290 kilograms, could be harvested from a single Lemon tree. Now it is now difficult to expect 20 tinful of Lemon from one year, she said.

Sharing the same view, one Lemon cultivator in Kachai village recalled that during 1994-96 one villager named S. Daniel have to press the service of Jeep for around 24 trips, each trip carrying 60 tinfuls of Lemon, in collecting the harvested Lemon from his farm. Unfortunately this time round, expectation for such bumper harvest despite application of scientific know-how is like wishful dream.

Heavy rainfall that was received last year in October has also seemed to have reflected on the growth of lemon growth in Kachai village. October is the flowering season of Lemon tree in Kachai. Kachai village is located 45 kilometers away from the district headquarters.

*Reported by Addie Chiphang

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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