HORTICULTURE IN MEGHALAYA
Meghalaya has a variation of agro-climatic zones, ranging from temperate to tropical, which offer tremendous scope for cultivation of temperate as well as tropical fruits and vegetables. The state is also a home to a large variety of flora some of which are not to be found anywhere else. More than two-thirds of the population in Meghalaya depends on agriculture and allied activities for its livelihood. The agriculture sector is of critical importance to the economy and to the well-being of its people. The total geographical area of Meghalaya is 22, 429, 00 Ha. Approximately, out of which the net cropped area is 3,42,885 ha or 15.28 % of the geographical area. The unutilized potential area is about 5,55,104 ha or 24.75 % of the total area and forest cover is 9,46,089 Ha. In effect 90% of the State is not within the ambit of settled agriculture, a fact that signifies the availability of land and the potential for large scale horticulture. The hilly terrains and land conditions of the State do not offer much scope in bringing additional area under the wet cultivation, but it possesses vast potential for development of horticulture. The geo-climatic situation of Meghalaya offers an excellent scope for growing of different types of Horticultural crops including Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Plantation crops, Medicinal and Aromatic plants of high economic values. Advantages of Horticulture crops over traditional food crops are:
- As most of the Horticulture crops are perennials in nature thus also offers bio-mass production and check Slash & Burn / Jhum cultivation.
- Horticulture crops and their products have high potentiality for export and foreign exchange earnings.
- Generate rural employment opportunity.
- Check erosion and improves ecological balances.
- It enables productive and economical utilization of cultivable wasteland.
A large variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, plantation crops, and medicinal & aromatic plants are grown. The tropical, sub- tropical and temperate fruits include mandarin orange, pineapple, banana, lemon, guava, pear and plum. Vegetables, both indigenous and exotic are grown across a wide range of agro climatic zones. The higher altitudes provide a conducive ecosystem to grow traditional vegetables like potato and cole crops, as well as sweet potato and tapioca. Spices such as black pepper, turmeric, ginger and chilies grow abundantly. Plantation crops - tea, cashewnut, coconut and arecanut have been performing well and offer good scope for area expansion.
Meghalaya has a monsoon type of climate but with wide variation depending upon altitude and physiographic difference of landmass. While the Shillong plateau (600-2000 mm) has a bracing climate verging towards the temperate type, the lower regions adjoining the Surma and Brahmaputra Valley (100-300m) have a tropical climate.
(100 – 300 msl)
(300 – 1100 msl)
(1100 – 2000 msl)