Sri Shantveer Swami of Kunchitiga Mahasabha in Hosadurga taluk has taken up cultivation of pomegranates to generate income for the math, near Garag village in Hosadurga taluk here. The swami has cultivated pomegranates on 40 acres of land taken on lease and earned a profit of more than Rs. 2 crore in three years.
He said that 5,000 saplings of pomegranate were planted by taking Rs 4.9 lakh from one of the devotees of the math.
More than 80 labourers working on the farm have been instructed not to use chemical fertilizer as it would spoil the soil’s fertility over a period of time. After initial hiccups, they managed to get sufficient water through borewells and protected the crop from diseases.
In the first year, the math secured a profit of Rs. 80 lakh and in the second year, it was around Rs 1.5 crore. This year it has earned a profit of more than Rs. 2 crore.
Inspired by the math’s success, 60 farmers in surrounding areas have started growing pomegranate on their farms. This year, the math sent nearly 3 tonnes of pomegranate for the Mysore Dasara.
The swami said there was considerable increase in the pomegranate growing area in the region owing to high demand in the country as well as foreign countries. In Chitradurga, pomegranate is grown on 8,270 hectares of land. But even after growing good quality pomegranate, the farmers suffer from lack of market facility. They have to transport pomegranate to Bangalore where the prices always fluctuate.
“There are many instances wherein the farmer have sold better quality pomegranate at very low cost at Bangalore owing to lack of transportation and storage facility. The quality pomegranate grown by farmers in the region is sold at just Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 a kg in the market while the private companies who have their own stores in metro cities, sell the same pomegranate at Rs. 180 a kg,” he said.
The farmers in districts such as Bagalkot, Bijapur, Koppal and Tumkur, also suffer from lack of market facilities and sell their produce at much lower price than the actual price owing to exploitation of middlemen and fear of sudden collapse in the price, he said.
As the pomegranate in some parts of the district is also affected from the diseases, it’s the right time that the Department of Horticulture intervened and provided technical assistance to farmers to protect the crop.
So far the farmers used to get 90 per cent profit on their investment and if the diseases start spreading the maintenance cost would go up and profit would be reduced by 40 per cent, he said.
Seer has taken up cultivation of pomegranates