Horticulture Department To Promote Strawberry Cultivation

By TheHindu on 30 Jun 2015 | read

The Department of Horticulture is recommending strawberry cultivation. If the plantation is undertaken in 100 to 200 hectares by the small and marginal farmers or even by big farmers, it is sufficient to meet the local demand. It can also be sent to nearest metro cities and fruit lovers value them so much. The fruit being perishable cannot be exported without having logistic support it requires for preservation and processing etc.

Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation project director Ram Mohan told The Hindu that the climate in Agency areas in the district is suitable for strawberry cultivation. At present, the fruit is supplied by traders from northern states and is selling anywhere between Rs.100 and Rs.125 per kg.

Fruit grown locally can be sold for Rs.50 for local consumption. Fruit processing companies and even exporters are willing to have tie-up with farmers only if plantations are raised on a commercial scale.

The Horticulture Department is willing to extend all help and make all subsidies and incentives available for other horticulture crops applicable to them. ITDA is cultivating the fruit in Padmapuram gardens in Araku Valley for over a decade. The garden strawberry called Fragaria and Annanassa is a common hybrid species that is cultivated worldwide. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red colour, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, and milkshakes. Artificial strawberry aroma is also widely used in many industrialised food products. Strawberry was first bred in Britain and France. The first garden strawberry was grown in France during the late 18th century.

The bulk of modern commercial production uses the plastic culture system. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic to prevent weed growth and erosion. Plants, usually obtained from northern nurseries are planted , and irrigation tubing is run underneath. Strawberry plants more than a year or two old begin to decline in productivity and fruit quality and the system of replacing the plants each year allows for improved yields and denser plantings. The other popular method, which uses the same plants from year to year growing in rows or on mounds, is most common in colder climates. It has lower investment costs, and lower overall maintenance requirements. Yields are typically lower than in plastic culture.

Strawberries can also be grown as a potted plant, and will still produce fruit. The plant will send out shoots in an attempt to propagate a new plant, and, if left alone, it will be successful in doing so, but this shoot can be cut off and placed wherever one wishes to start a new plant. Strawberries are often grouped according to their flowering habit. Traditionally, this has consisted of a division between “June-bearing” strawberries, which bear their fruit in early summer and “ever-bearing” strawberries, which often bear several crops of fruit throughout the season.

Around 200 species of pests are known to attack strawberries both directly and indirectly. Strawberries contain fisting, an antioxidant that has been studied in relation to Alzheimer's disease and kidney failure .