Awungshi Shimray Augustina, brand ambassador for apple cultivation in Manipur, earlier worked as a manager in a Singapore-based diamond company in Delhi, Gordon Max. In 2018, she decided to leave the job and go back to her native village, Poi in Ukhrul, along the Indo-Myanmar border of Manipur, and started her journey of apple cultivation.
“In 2019, I planted 55 saplings of a low-chilling variety of apples that I got from Himachal Pradesh in a small plot of land a few paces away from the house. Amazingly, 52 of them survived and grew abundantly. In 2020, I did not harvest the fruit, and during the pandemic lockdown of 2021, I collected the crop in the second week of June. The apples are red, juicy, and sweet,” says Augustina. From her first harvest in 2019, this year near about 150 kilograms of apples from her orchard has been sold and another 80 kilograms of apple are yet to get picked.
As said by Augustina, National Commission for Women (NCW) member, Soso Shaiza was the one to give her the idea of apple plantation and even arranged her training at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, where she learned about orchard plantation and the high-yield, low-chilling variety of apples.