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SPICE lNDIA Lessons of Success, from Lab to Field

  • Spices Board (Ministry of Commerce & Industry Govt. of India)
  • Indian Cardamom Research Institute


Mrs. Kakit Lepcha started the scientific methodology of large cardamom cultivation, which shows very positive impact in production and productivity. Unlike previous years, she stopped the planting of random cultivar of large cardamom and planted the location and altitude suited Ramsey cultivar. The change in farming psychology and practices eventually made her to produce 1158 kg/ha of dried large cardamom and earned the Best large Cardamom productivity Award for the year 2014-15 by Spices Board of India.
SPICE lNDIA March 20'19
Lessons of Success,
from Lab to Field
lndian Cardamom Research lnstitute, Regional Research Station, Spices Board,
Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim
lndian Cardamom Research lnstitute, Spices Board, Myladumpara, ldukki, Kerala
Email :
I Large cardamom plantation under traditionat system
7Tth. face of lndian agriculture is changing
I now as the knowtedge acquired by
r scientists from laboratories are shared
with farmers working in the fietds. This has
resulted in flourishingfarms which reaps rich
yietds and thus, happy farmers.
The scientists of the Spices Board Research
Station had been working on ways of cuttivating
large cardamom in a scientific manner. These
hours spent on resea'rch bore fruit when
farmers implemented it in their farms. Mrs.
Kakit Lepcha was one among the farmers
whose plot was selected for Large Cardamom
Productivity Award 2014-15. She is atso the
representative of successfu I women farmers
from Sikkim.
Like other sectors in lndia, agriculture also has
witnessed a [imited leadership and disparity in
decision making and participation of women.
This is the situation even after women ptaying
a major role in agricuttura[ activities in rural
lndia. Here, the percentage of women who
March 2019
depend on agriculture for their tivetihood is
as high as 84 per cent. Women make up about
33 per cent of cultivators and about 4l per
cent of agricultural labourers.
ln 2009, 94 per cent of the female agricu [tu ral
labour force in crop cultivation was in cereal
production, while 1.4 per cent worked in
vegetable production, and 3.72 per cent were
engaged in fruits, nuts, beverages, and spice
Women's participation rate in the agricultural
sectors is about 4l per cent in tea plantations,
46.84 per cent in cotton cuttivation, 45.43 per
cent growing oit seeds and 39.13 per cent in
vegetable production. Even though these
crops require [abour-intensive work, the work
is considered quite unskitted.
alWomen Leadership in Large Cardamom
One of the noted exception in the general
trend is the role of women invotved in targe
cardamom cultivation in Sikkim.
Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.),
which is a main cash crop cultivated in Sikkim;
poputarty known as bada elaichi in Hindi, is
one of the world's ancient spices that betongs
to the famity Zingiberaceae. tt grows witd in
forest ecosystem and is atso domesticated
in the sub-Himatayan region, at altitudes
ranging from 1000 to 2200m above mean sea
level. ln case of large cardamom plantations,
women play not only an active role in on-farm
activities but also have shown leadership and
adaptation of progressive techniques quickty
as we[[.
I Spices Board officials helping with scientific recommendations
March 2019
Spices Board.
c) Enhancing Technical Skills
Various extension programmes like Spice
Ctinic, Scientist Farmer lnterface, On-farm
lnteraction, Ptantation Visit Programmes etc'
have resutted a criticat change in the farming
practices of Mrs. Kakit. She was very quick to
understand the setection of variety suited
for location, use of quatity ptanting materiat,
mulching, apptication of vermicompost and FYM,
sprinktel iirigation through gravity, adapting
phyto-sanitary measures, harvesting at right
rtug. of maturity, organic way of insect-pest
*.irg.r.nt, u nderstandi ng the crop catendar
an d iti i m po rta n ce fo r futu re, regu lar mon itori ng
of the fietd and supporttechnical experts etc'
Large cardamom field maintained under scientific
recommended Practices
b) lntervention of lCRl, Spices Board
Mrs. Kahit Lepcha's plot selected for Large Cardamom
P ro d u ctivitY Aw a r d 201 4-1 5
One such example is Mrs. Kakit Lepcha, a
progressive women farmer from Saffo Liching
vittage in North Sikkim. She has an area of 0'64
hectlre under large cardamom cuttivation'
She used to cuttivate large cardamom in d) lmpact on Production /
Mrs. Kakit started the scientific
methodotogY of large cardamom
cuttivation, which showed verY
positive imPact in Production and
prod uctivity. U n ti ke previous years,
she stopPed the Ptanting of random
cuttivar of [arge cardamom and
ptanted the location and attitude
suited RamseY cu ltivar.
This change in farming PsYchotogY
and practices eventuattY made her
to produce 1158 kg/ha of dried large
cardamom and earned the Second
Best Large Cardamom ProductivitY
traditional ways for quite a period of time'
However, she started attendingthe programmes
on research and development activities of
Spices Board since 2O1O-11, which changed
her perspective about practice of farming'
Mrs. Kakit has shown keen interest and
abitity to quick adaptation of the farming
techniques devetoped and disseminated by
lndian Cardamom Research lnstitute (tCnt),
Award for the Year 2014-15.
The success of Mrs. Kakit Lepcha explains a
very simpte but strong and worthy message-
"Think criticatty, adapt the change and win
the race". Capacity of a farmer is not decided
by gender or size of the fietd, but by scientific
temperament and readiness to stay open to
new concepts. J
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