Imphal, August 18,
A one day seminar on management of yongchak and agar was organised by the Forest Department at the Hotel Imphal today. Resource persons including scientists taking part in the seminar discussed on various methods to reduce the mortality of the yongchak (parkia timoriana) and agarwood induction technology.
Speaking as the chief guest of the function, Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar today said that number of yongchak trees, which is a popular delicacy in the State, is declining due to some disease. Stating that yongchak is imported from the neighbouring countries due to high demand, he said that the yongchak grown in the soil of the State has a unique flavor.
He further said that yongchak trees take 7 to 10 years to mature, but now, the trees can attain maturity within 3 years using modern methods. He appealed to the invitees of the seminar that included ADC members and representatives, farmers and officials from different departments, to follow the suggestions and methods told by the experts at the seminar. He said they can further spread awareness to the masses.
Regarding the plantation of agarwood tree, he said that it is best suitable to be grown in Jiribam, Moreh and Kamjong. He opined that with the knowledge shared by the experts, jhum cultivation can be controlled in the State as agarwood plantation also can be another source of livelihood for the farmers.
Opining that the plantation of yongchak and agarwood tree will surely help in environmental conservation, he appealed to the people of the State to attend seminars and workshops organised by the various departments so that there is public awareness and asked the media to help in spreading mass awareness on suggestions and knowledge shared by the experts.
Suhel Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Forest and Environment) opined that yongchak is and agarwood tree can be a source of economic upliftment of the people in Manipur. He said unfortunately the number of yongchak trees in the State is declining and some even resulting in mortality due to some disease.
Opining that agarwood tree plantation can be a source of economic development to a large extent as market value of the price of agarwood ranges between USD 5,600 to 10,000, he said the agarwood tree is grown in certain climate, not beyond 1000 meters above sea level. He said the planter/farmer has to wait for minimum 8 years so that artificial induction can be done and after that harvesting is done.
K. Angami, PCCF and HoFF said the unscientific management and extraction of agarwood oil has reduced the population of the agarwood tree which was once grown naturally in the State, making it non-profitable. He said the farmers need to improve their socio-economic condition and plantation of agarwood is one such good option for them.
Stating that to make the agarwood plantation more profitable for farmers, it is required to infect the agarwood for the extraction of oil using modern technology as natural process takes time. He said the objective of the seminar is make sure that we move forward in our daily life with better economic condition, with better result and better harvesting.
The seminar was also attended by Dr RK Borah, Scientists, Rain Forest Research Institute (RFRI), Jorhat, scientists and scholars from different institutes, NGOs, progressive farmers and officials from the Forest Department.