Chittorgarh farmer undertake strawberry farming at commercial level, earn big profits
Udaipur : Jagdish Prajapat, a progressive farmer, is doing wonders with his 10 Beegha land in Bangreda Mamadev, a small village situated 40 kms from the Chittorgarh district headquarters. Being the first serious cultivator of strawberry in the desert land, this 8th class pass farmer has become an inspiration to hundred others not only in his neighborhood, but the entire state. Prajapat’s strawberries are quite in demand these days in hotels and big city markets including Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra, New Delhi etc. Strawberries being plucked first time from his farms, is fetching him 200 to 250 rupees per kilo and 100 kilos are daily being packed off on an average.
“Strawberry farming is a brisk business. Before joining it, I didn’t realize men were making lot of money out of this crop.” said Prajapat, who cultivated medicinal crops before embarking on this project. “ I never had believed in the traditional crops since they do not yield good profits. I grew Safed Musseli which fetched me handsome returns, but strawberry is a wonder crop” he said. Prajapat tried it in a beegha land last year and was encouraged after earning 4 lakh rupees of it in a season. This led him to take up its cultivation at a larger level this season and in October, he sowed runner plants at a wider scale. “ I procured the plants from Nashik, Sangli in Maharashtra and followed all the advice given by the agriculture and horticulture experts” Prajapat said. The crop is being reaped on daily basis and properly packed before dispatch. The packing material too have been purchased from Maharashtra because of its non availability in Rajasthan. Prajapat’s efforts have not only brought prosperity for him but also made him a job provider as 30 to 35 workers are daily engaged in the farm for the plucking and packing task.
“It hasn’t been easy and strawberry farming takes a lot of your time especially when they start ripening. Extreme precautions have to be taken since it is a highly perishable product. It is advisable to do your marketing before planting strawberries to avoid losses as they are delicate,” warns Prajapat.
“ Strawberry is a short duration crop when planted in October starts going yield in January. It grows well under temperate climate while some cultivars can be grown in sub-tropical climate” said Sudhir Verma, the Deputy Director, Agriculture in Udaipur division. “Farmers are keen in strawberry cultivation but there is a need to develop market, infra-structure facilities for processing and packaging to boost its production” Verma added. In a season an average farmer can grow nearly 15-20 kg of strawberry everyday and get 150 to 200 rupees per kg in the market. Marketing strawberries to the tourists coming from across the country can be very beneficial for the cultivators.