Hnahlan village, near the Indo-Myanmar border, noted for its extensive grape cultivation, is now striving to become the largest grape producing village in India . Around 80 per cent of the villagers were engaged in grape-cultivation, after foresaking the primitive shifting cultivation 10 years ago and were now reaping the 'fruits of their labour', sources said.
The enthusiasm of the grape farmers had been fuelled by the amendment of the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act. The Act had earlier prevented them from large-scale commercialisation of their products and wine-making from grapes. The green foliages and fruits of the grape gardens would be ready for harvest by the later part of July, the sources added.
Hnahlan village recently, were convinced that, with its suitable climate and soil conditions, the region had the capability for double-cropping of grapes. Generally, one quintal of grape juice was worth as much as Rs 15,000 according to the present rate of grape juice, official sources informed. They added that grape cultivation was a better alternative to the toilsome, primitive, but hard-to-part-with shifting cultivation.
Hnahlan had high hopes of becoming the largest raw material producer for wineries across the country. However, Hnahlan grapes were not without foes. Pests (locally referred to as Keltelaimawm) constantly ransacked the grapes. To combat this menace, the Horticulture department had been providing them with adequate pesticides and GI wires. Another big problem the grape-growers were facing was the lack of proper equipment for fermentation of grapes. Grape juices were processed in Sintex plastic barrels, the most unhygienic way of fermentation. With the amendment of the MLTP Act, the state government had promised to provide proper equipment for fermentation. As a result, the neighbouring villages had also adopted grape cultivation.
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