By The Editor
The Northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh produces many kinds of fruits suitable to its cold climate and harsh winter most of which are locally consumed but less demand from outside because of various constraints. Of the different types of fruits grown in abundance the kiwi thrives in the region which however has less market value and consequently discouraging the farmers. Tage Rita, an Arunachalee agricultural engineer seeing their plight came to their rescue by setting up winery in Hong village in the beautiful Ziro Valley in Lower Subansiri district in 2017 and named her product ‘Naara Aaba’. She revived and encouraged organic kiwis in order to provide sustainable livelihood to kiwi farmers in the region. At first there were great obstacles but due to persistence her mission to manufacture kiwi wine bore fruits.
Wine was originally the fermented juice of grapes and later on because of improved knowledge and technique other varieties of fruits like plums, wild apples, pears, kiwis, etc. are now popular sources of wine-making which fetches good revenue. There are hundreds of different wines but each of them belongs to one of the five main classes of wine- aperitif or appetiser, red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines – which are usually taken before, during or after meals. Taste of wine depends an aging which relate to time period before consumption and the longer the time interval the better is the taste. During first stage wine is stored in wooden casks or barrels and after certain period of time is the second stage in which wine is placed in bottles. Production of wine is aligned with harvesting season of local fruits.
Rita who is in her mid-thirties was the first entrepreneur from NE to secure a deal worth lakhs of rupees at Shark Tank India Season 2 which was aired on March 13 this year on Sony LIV channel. From its initial production of 20,000 litres in 2017 it has now tripled to 60,000 litres and the industry continues to rise with demand from outside the region. During the first year 300 farmers benefited selling about 20 metric tons of kiwis to the winery which employs 20 regular workers and 100 seasonal staff many of them being locals. The winery has also got a licence to export from Agricultural Produce Export Development Authority (APEDA) Union Ministry of Trade and Industry. Through APEDA’s support the international exhibition of Naara Aaba was held in China and Greece. Approximately 300-400 domestic and foreign tourists visit the winery every month for wine tasting and a tour of the facility. For her service and commitment Rita was awarded by NITI Ayog in collaboration with the United Nations in 2018.