Who: Lakadong coal miners
Where: Lakadong, Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya
What: Switched to turmeric farming
Why: Due to NGT ban
Lakadong: A village in Laskein Block in Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya
The place Lakadong was in news in the fourth week of November 2015 as the coal miners of the region largely switched to turmeric farming to sustain their livelihood.
They are the people who were earlier involved in unscientific mining and transportation of coal. Now, they have taken to cultivation ofcurcumin-rich Lakadong turmeric varieties at their village.
Why the switch from coal mining to turmeric farming?
• In April 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned on coal mining and transportation of coal in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills region.
• After the ban, the people started to look for an alternative source of income.
Why turmeric farming?
• Meghalaya produces over 8000 metric tonne of turmeric in a year.
• A majority of the production is concentrated in Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills region because of the favourable micro-climatic and soil conditions.
• Jaintia Hills region consisting of two districts produces at least three varieties of turmeric: Lakadong, Laskein and Ladaw.
• There is a very high demand from the pharmaceutical industry for the curcumin-rich turmeric varieties as it can be used in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and dye/food-colouring industries.
• The district horticulture department has built a turmeric hub to promote cultivation of the famed Lakadong variety of turmeric.
• The hub was built at a cost of 50 lakh rupees, the funds which came from the 13th Finance Commission.