Kiwi, pears, plum wine gives hope for Arunachal farmers

Kiwi, pears and plum wine bring new hope for Covid-19-battered tourism and farmers in Arunachal Pradesh

Farmers in Ziro Valley produces a huge quantity of kiwis, pears and plums but most go waste due to lack of proper market

Wines made from pears and plums in Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. Credit: Special arrangement

When the darkness of Covid-19 engulfed the world crushing dreams of many small business people, Tage Rita, a woman winemaker in Arunachal Pradesh's Ziro Valley, concentrated on innovation and how to help the struggling farmers around her.

"Lockdown was very tough for me. When works in the factory stopped, my focus and attention were on the gardens. I was looking for ideas to survive after the pandemic and so came the idea of improving my kiwi wine and add plum and pears into the list to offer something new to the wine connoisseurs after the pandemic," Rita, who launched the new label of wines under the brand name Naara Aaba on Monday, told DH.

Read | Snake species, endemic to the Northeast, rediscovered in Arunachal Pradesh after 129 years

"As the government has opened the state for tourists, wine connoisseurs can look for these special wines, all made from kiwis, pears and plums, organically grown on the hills," she said.

Naara Aba is a brand of wines produced by Lambu-Subu Food and Beverages Limited at Hong village in Ziro Valley in Lower Subansiri district, situated atop over 5,000 feet.

Rita's winery had launched the country's first kiwi wine in 2017 and now she has launched wine made from pears and plums to add more varieties.

Farmers in Ziro Valley produces a huge quantity of kiwis, pears and plums but most go waste due to lack of proper market.

"The products will not only offer something new to tourists but also help the poor farmers get the price of the fruits they have traditionally grown in their backyards," she said.

Rita, who resigned from her engineer job with Arunchal Pradesh government and took the risk of starting a winery in the industrially backward state is pinning hope on the new line of wines.

Purpa Tsering, another kiwi winemaker in Dirang Valley, is also helping farmers by buying kiwi and other fruits locally grown in the hills.

Also Read | Pasta, wine and inflatable pools: How Amazon conquered Italy amid Covid-19

Lauding Rita's efforts to help farmers and offer something new to the tourists, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said by providing value addition to local fruits, the wine brand will help farmers to earn more.

Egam Basar, who is the head of Arunachal Pradesh Horticulture Research and Development Institute, said the state wine policy enacted by the state government in 2016 encouraged the local entrepreneurs to take up winemaking from kiwis and other local fruits.

"These bold initiatives are really offering new hope for our farmers," Basar, also an environmentalist, said.

For the tourists planning to visit Arunachal Pradesh hills and taste the wine made of kiwis, pears and plums, however, a Covid-19 negative report issued in the past 72 hours is a must.