Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of people living in Assam. The state of Assam is naturally bestowed with lots of rainfall and fertile land which is beneficial for cropping. Because of this, food crops and staples have witnessed massive growth in their agriculture. The main food crop in Assam is rice which is also the staple diet there. However, the Agriculture of Assam has the potential to grow a lot more crops as the soils of Barak River’s valley and Barhamaputra is very fertile. It also has the right weather conditions to do so.
We have compiled a list of a few crops to tap the potential of the Agriculture of Assam. These crops are also commercially viable to grow.
A nutritious and profitable crop, oyster mushrooms are suitable for varying ranges of temperature. It is mostly grown on paddy straw in indoor conditions. The ideal temperature range for their growth ranges between 18-30°C and relative humidity of 80-85%. Cultivating mushrooms is best suitable for Assam’s weather conditions, especially in the Barack Valley region. There is also ample availability of straw in the valley which makes it easy for its cultivation.
2. Black rice
This crop has high nutritional value and is very profitable to grow. It has a high level of antioxidants and is becoming a popular superfood. It is slow-growing with a relatively low yield. Its tall height makes it less affected by moderate flooding. It is believed to be medicinal rice that used to be reserved for the elite in ancient China. It currently has a huge market too which makes it lucrative for farming.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that is popular due to its health benefits. It is good for farming because of its fast growth, long fruiting period, and high yield. It is very profitable to grow. The ideal temperatures for it to grow are 25°C to 30°C. It needs warm and dry conditions to grow.
Moringa or drumstick is to prepare dishes and is a storehouse of nutrients. This “miracle tree” is in high demand because of its rich iron content. It grows chiefly in high and arid climatic conditions. It should ideally be for temperature ranges of 25°C to 32°C. Its seeds yield an oil which is mainly for the manufacture of perfumes. The great thing about this crop is it can survive drought conditions.
5. Black Pepper
Black Pepper, known as the ‘king of spices,’ is an evergreen plant. It can be cultivated as a main crop or intercrop. Black Pepper is one of the major exports that India has and has high economic importance because of this. It ideally grows in temperature ranges between 10°C to 40°C. This spice thrives in hot and humid climatic conditions.
6. King Chilli
The second hottest pepper in the world, King Chilli, is highly profitable to grow. It is popular due to its aroma and flavour. More than 90% of its production is for edible purposes and for manufacturing tear gas and pepper sprays. King Chilli also has many medicinal properties and one can also use it to treat various diseases.
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato is an important crop that is grown in tropical and subtropical regions. It is known for its high-calorie content. Besides it being used for cuisines, it is also in use for industrial purposes like making alcohol and processed goods. Sweet Potato ideally grows in temperature ranges of 22°C to 28°C in warm and humid weather conditions.
8. Assamese Lemon
Assamese lemon is chiefly for being a good source of Vitamin C, boosting immunity and its refreshing taste. It is in demand not only in the local market but also in foreign markets. It ideally grows in temperature ranges between 20°C to 25°C.
9. Dragon fruit
An exotic fruit, dragon fruit is one of the crops that are high in demand in India. It is usually present in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Dragon fruit is excellent for skin health, lowering cholesterol, and improving blood hemoglobin. It can be grown in tropical and subtropical climates while requiring very little rainfall.
10. Black Gram
India is the primary centre of origin of the black gram. Black gram is also the ‘king of pulses.’ It is mainly in consumption as dhal and even as green manure and livestock feed. It ideally grows in temperature ranges between 25°C to 35°C.
A poverty-free and self-sufficient community in Assam can’t be imagined without the role of sustainable agriculture in it. Cultivating more crops will lead to more rural livelihood and also solve the undernutrition crisis.