Ms Trinity Saioo – lakadong turmeric cultivator from Meghalaya

You cultivate turmeric and you are raising a women’s self-help group too. Can you tell me about your background?
I am Trinity Saioo and I come from Muleih village of Meghalaya. I cultivate Lakadong turmeric. This turmeric cultivation is handed down from our forefathers.
Unfortunately, for some unknown reason our ancestors ceased to grow it. Instead, they began planting Lakachein turmeric and continued with it.
From 2003, I liaised with the Spice Board and they helped me get a subsidy, and I began cultivating the Lakadong turmeric. The reason I was insistent on Lakadong turmeric itself is because when I compare it with Lakachein turmeric, it is of superior quality, and when I analyse the market, Lakadong turmeric has higher scope than the Lakachein. I, therefore, encourage my farmers to cultivate Lakadong turmeric and I help them get subsidies from the Spice Board. This is what I have been involved in since 2003 till date.
Since the subsidies keep coming in, the Lakadong turmeric cultivation is still running smooth. This is not just in my village, but all along the Western Block I have got Lakadong turmeric planted. Later on, we formed groups in our village with 10 members each. We have more than 100 such groups in existence today. Putting these groups together we formed a Federation. Within the Federation, we have a processing unit, good houses, powdering machines, etc. We also have one extraction unit which isn’t working because of the lack of trainees and expert hands.
Till now, we have about 900 farmers who are cultivating Lakadong turmeric. Also, in my village I formed a society housing 25 members. Last year also I exported 20 tons of Lakadong turmeric. With our Lakadong turmeric mission our plan is – by the year 2023 we aim to deliver upto 5000 metric tons of it. This is our mission.

Before you took this initiative to organize the farmers, were many farmers growing Lakadong turmeric on a large scale in your region?
No, Lakadong turmeric’s value is already well known through our parents and ancestors. In my village, for some unknown reason, the cultivation of Lakadong turmeric stopped. When I started growing it and realized that the market is also great for this variety of turmeric, I advised the farmers to start cultivating it. So, what I have experienced is that if a problem is encountered, our farmers will stop the production of the crop.

What is the main advantage for farmers to grow this particular variety of turmeric?
They have more income now.

Are you facing any difficulty to market this?
Nowadays the market is not that good. I am not sure what happened. Some buyers used to come to me. They spoke to me and promised to buy the product. But not sure what happened, till now they have not come back. I would say that the market is neither good nor bad.
Now, the price is Rs. 120 to Rs. 140 per kg this year. Last year it was Rs 150 per kg. This year the rate has decreased.

What is the exact subsidy that you are getting from The Spice Board?
This money comes directly to their bank account.

Ms. Trinity, you are also a teacher?
Yes, I teach at a school. This is not higher secondary. So, the school functions from 8 am – 1 pm. So, after school, I work with my farmers, and that’s how my day goes.

What are the main issues you have faced?
My current issue is that I need a good market for my products. I do not face any problems with my farmers. If I get a good market then we all will have a better life. This year all the products are from the local state, not tissue culture. Whatever return we receive is given to the farmer. If I get a good market, then that will solve all my issues.
I am also aiming at expanding our farmland.

Is there any area where you felt that agricultural departments could have helped you more?
Yes. In our place we are working the traditional way. We do not have any machinery support, especially to plant our garden. We have a processing unit from our Federation. But, I want one more processing unit, if possible. We are also planning to start an FPO.

What is the average size of your member groups and on what size of plot do they cultivate the crops?
We are talking about 96 villages in our block. We have more than 100 groups of farmers, which is around 1000 farmers in total.

Contact – Ms. Trinity Saioo,
Email : saioprisnity01@gmail.com
Tel : 9383225326