Farmer grows strawberries in Chittorgarh

By Times Of India on 16 Oct 2017 | read
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JAIPUR: Strawberries cultivated in Rajasthan have become a reality! A progressive farmer in Chittorgarh district has shown that strawberry cultivation can be a lucrative business in the state. He cultivates strawberries in his 6 bigha farm and says that south Rajasthan has tremendous potential for the fruit which is currently being bought from other states to meet the state's demand.

Jagdish Prajapat of Bangreda Mamadev gram panchayat under Nimbahera block decided to do something new.

Initially, he planted strawberry plants on one bigha land. The local climate and land, water conditions proved favourable in ripening of the fruit. Taking his learning forward, he has currently sown the fruit on 6 bigha land. From a small village like Bangreda Mamadev these strawberries have reached major cities like Delhi and Ahmedabad.

In the beginning, "I brought plants from Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. Twice I also bought plants from Himachal Pradesh. However, this year I have managed to create strawberry plants in my own field," he told TOI over phone.

"The cost of per bigha of land for strawberries is about Rs 3 lakh. This cost includes compost, fertilizer and manual labour. The yield per bigha is estimated to be about 50 quintals," he said.

He neatly packs the strawberries in 2kg packs (approximately costing Rs 200 per box) to protect the fragile fruits before despatching them in buses to various cities.

For successful strawberry farming, Prajapat got training and technical support from the horticulture department of the state government. These techniques include drip irrigation, plastic mulching sheet bed for moisture protection and fertigation as per nutrients recommended to maintain the premium quality and shape of the plants.

Like most plants and flowers, strawberries also have numerous varieties. The winter variety did very well in Prajapat's farm. He cultivated a batch of 12,000 plants in the first week of September in his field. The crops will be ready for harvesting by March-April.

Varieties like Raniya, Pamaroj, Camilla, Nebila, Sweet Charlie, Chandler, Aofa, among others were also tried out by him but the local climate and natural resources favoured the winter variety more.

Prajapat believes that favourable air, water and soil conditions for cultivation of strawberries exist at many places in Rajasthan. Insects and plant sickness are a challenge but all crops pose a certain degree of risk. Next, Prajapat wants to get involved in strawberry processing but he will proceed in this direction only after receiving ample guidance.