One Meghalayan was named in the list of 119 Padma award winners for 2021, as was announced by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs today.
Nanadro B Marak is one of 102 recipients of the Padma Shri award.
The 61-year-old is a pioneering farmer in West Garo Hills who first planted the Karimunda variety of black pepper, which produces medium-sized, chestnut-black coloured grains.
Marak is a resident of Tikrikilla block.
There are 3,400 trees of the spice in Marak’s farm, spread across five hectares, that he inherited from his in-laws in the 1980s.
He began farming with an investment of Rs 10,000, a huge amount back then, and planted around a hundred trees. With each passing year, he kept on increasing the number.
Unlike other farmers in the region, Marak stuck to organic farming and strictly avoided using any harmful chemicals from the very beginning. For the first three years, the trees suffered damage, but he did not give in. Instead he came up with eco-friendly alternatives to kill pests.
These awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions that are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March or April every year.