Uttarakhand is the 27th state of India formed on 9th November 2000. Nine out of the 13 districts of the state are hilly. It is divided into two regions, namely, Kumaon and Garhwal. Lofty snow clad peaks, serene valleys,important glaciers, alpine pasture lands, unique and rich biodiversity, pristine forests, origin of major river system of India, namely, Ganga and Yamuna etc. make Uttarakhand very unique. It is popularly known as “/Devbhumi/” (abode of gods and goddesses) due to numerous religious shrines.
SIGNIFICANCE OF CROP CULTIVATION IN MOUNTAIN
About 70% of the population of Uttarakhand engage in agriculture and allied activities for sustenance. Farmers own very small and scattered land holdings and practise rain-fed cultivation. Though mostly labour oriented, agriculture remains to be an intrinsic part of life and culture of the people of Himalayas.
Agriculture is intrinsically interlinked with animal husbandry and forest conservation. Animal husbandry is the major source of manure and draught power for ploughing fields. It is believed that cultivation of one hectare land in mountains require six hectares of forests. Hence, it is important to reduce the dependence of local community on forest resources.
It is in this backdrop that an innovative endeavour is underway in the hills of Uttarakhand, covering over 850 villages. It is being implemented by Forest Department, Govt. of Uttarakhand jointly with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), under which, the local communities, particularly women, have been encouraged to conserve forest resources through complementary activities. It also ensures better livelihood and income generation opportunities.
This endeavour addresses some of the critical issues in cultivation such as enhancing productivity, creating infrastructure to enable forest dependent communities to act across selected growth value chain(s), enhancing their ability to invest in their micro-enterprises and linking this rural capacity to mainstream economy.
MOUNTAIN PRODUCEARE UNIQUE!
Grown in natural and pollution-free environment, the produce from hills offer unique aroma and taste to the cuisines. They also exhibit numerous health benefits. Over 14000 women are cultivating a variety of millets, cereals, pulses, spices and condiments in the hills under this endeavour. They have organized themselves into Self-Help Groups (SHGs), which in turn, into cluster-level cooperatives. A state level cooperative at the apexim parts leverage to their strength, resources and skills in order to generate economies of scale (in agriculture and allied sectors). This is done through bulk, retail and online marketing of their produce.
In hilly regions, crops are cultivated in a near-organic manner in natural environment. Hence, these produce offer several health benefits. For instance, fingermillet flour and barley flour aregluten-free, highly nutritious (rich in Calcium) and arenon-acidic.
Likewise, condiments grown in the hills of Uttarakhand are good for health.For example, perilla, jakhay (wild mustard) and faran (jambu) have unique health benefits. Perilla is rich inOmega-3 while jakhyais good for liver and faranaids in digestion.
Uttarakhand houses a myriad of geo-climatic regions. Hence, crops grown in different landscapes have unique properties of their own. Turmeric, red chillies and yellow chillies cultivated in Nayar Valley of Pauri Garhwal and Nainidanda area of Corbett Tiger Reserve landscape offers unique flavour and aroma to the preparations.
The gluten-free red rice of Bageshwar (Kumaon) and barnyard millet rice of Nayar valley of Pauri Garhwal are believed to be anti-diabetic and easy to digest.
Gahat (horse gram) form an inevitable part of the sumptuous food that Uttarakhandi people eat to keep themselves healthy and energetic especially during winters. Several other varieties of pulses and lentils are also being grown and processed by SHGs in natural conditions.
Honey from Lansdowne region is pure and; has distinct taste and medicinal properties. It is produced by rearing Apis cerana indica, a native mountainous non-migratory bee which gather pollen from local pristine forests, agricultural and horticultural lands.
Animal husbandry is also akin to agriculture. People rear native cows fed on grasses or natural vegetation. Ghee is also prepared by SHGs locally in most hygienic conditions.
With the support of Uttarakhand Forest Department and JICA, women Self Help Groups and their cooperatives are committed to provide natural and best quality food produce to their consumers. HavePure is committed to satisfying consumer’s needs as well as uplifting women farmers of the state.
In the present scenario of worldwide pandemic spread of CoVID-19/ Corona virus, HavePure produce could impart health benefits. It also takes special care to ensure hygienic conditions at every level from procurement to packaging.