Mosambi cultivation is being encouraged as an alternative to pomegranate
The financial aid being extended by the Government under the National Horticulture Mission has come as a boon to pomegranate farmers of Chitradurga district, who incurred heavy loss owing to pest attack.
About five years ago, several pomegranate farmers suffered losses following outbreak of Bacterial Blight disease. They lost enormous amount of crop due to the attack, while many farmers uprooted plants to save uninfected plants. The Government came to the rescue of the farmers by encouraging mosambi plantation as alternative crop to pomegranate.
The reason for selecting mosambi as alternative crop was that the fruit is economical and does not demand heavy maintenance, besides giving higher remuneration.
According to the Horticulture Department, mosambi was grown only in 100 hectares of land in the district, which has increased to 850 hectares in the past half a decade.
Unlike pomogrante which demands annual maintenance cost of Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000, mosambi needs only around Rs. 15,000 a year. Besides this, pomegranate is vulnerable to disease which needs constant care to avoid pest attack. While in the case of mosambi, the chances of pest attack are less, except it has higher problem of micro nutrient deficiency. This deficiency reduces the quality and lifespan of the plant. “The problem can be tackled by spraying pesticides which are easily available in the market,” said Deputy Director Kadiregowda.
He said that with one acre of mosambi, a farmer could earn Rs. 35,000 a year. With pomogrante, the revenue could even go up to Rs. 1 lakh a year, but the amount of risk and cost of input is much higher.
The fruit yielding period of mosambi starts from the fourth year of planting and last for nearly 50 years. The plants could also be grown as inter-cropping with sapota. The fruit is largely grown in Challakere, Hiriyur and some parts of Chitradurga taluk of the district.
To encourage the farmers, the department has already given Rs. 39 lakh as financial aid for adopting mosambi. A total of Rs. 23,500 is given to each farmer in three instalments for a maximum of one hectare of land, Mr. Kadiregowda added.
FIROZ ROZINDAR IN CHITRADURGA