By Manjuree Dkhar and PSS Rao
Meghalaya state in northeastern India has low development indices, despite vast natural resources including a plethora of indigenous fruits with high nutritive and therapeutic value. These fruit trees are often grown in the forest, available only seasonally and suffer from poor marketing strategies. Based on in-depth interviews of a representative random sample of 300 households in East Khasi Hills district, and survey of farmers it was found that these fruits are highly popular but only half consume regularly due to low availability. Majority are aware of their high nutritional and therapeutic values and would appreciate more regular availability. The fruits have many positive features, but have short shelf life and suffer from poor storage and transportation problems. With governmental support for higher production, efficient marketing strategies including packaging, pricing, storage, transportation and promotional/educational campaigns, indigenous fruits can greatly enhance the economy and social life of indigenous populations everywhere.