A farmer of Chittorgarh district has been successfully cultivating different varieties of strawberry in his fields, the first such initiative in Rajasthan.
Jagdish Prajapat of Nimbahera tehsil in the district initially planted strawberry plants brought from Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. The local climate proved favourable in ripening of the fruit crop. He is currently farming different varieties of strawberry in 6-7-acre land and sends the produce to Delhi and Ahmedabad.
“In beginning, I brought the plants from Himachal Pradesh and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. However, this year my own farming tactics proved fruitful and I managed to create crops from the strawberry plants present in my field. I spend about ₹3 lakh per acre of land and the yield is about 50 quintal per acre. On an average, 2 kg pack costs about Rs 200,” Prajapat told HT.
For successful strawberry farming, Prajapat applies all techniques suggested by the agricultural department. These techniques include drip irrigation, plastic mulching sheet bed for moisture protection and fertigation as per nutrients recommendation to maintain the premium quality and shape of the plants.
Like most plants and flowers, strawberry also has numerous varieties. Winter variety did very well in Prajapat’s farm. This plant was cultivated in the first week of September with 12,000 plants in his field. The crops are ready for harvesting by March-April. Varieties such as Raniya, Pamaroj, Camilla, Nebila, Sweet Charlie, Chandler and Aofa were also tried out by him, but the local climate and natural resources benefitted the winter variety more.
Prajapat believes that favourable air, water and soil conditions for cultivation of strawberries exist in many places in Rajasthan. Insects and plant sickness are a challenge, but all crops possess a certain degree of risk. He also hopes to get himself involved in strawberry processing, but will only proceed in this direction after receiving ample guidance.