Strawberry farming becoming popular in Himachal

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Sirmaur (HP), May 1 (ANI): Farmers of Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur district are earning good profits from strawberry cultivation in the region, as the commercial demand of the fruit has increased.

The good yield of the region and low investment is encouraging the farmers to move to strawberry farming.

Suneel Thakur, a local farmer, said that when they invest about Rs 25,000 for cultivation in 0.4 hectare of land, the income ranges from Rupees100,000 to 200,000.

"Farmers who grow strawberries on a small scale even start with one 'bigha' (0.4 hectare) of land and other large-scale growers grow strawberries on at least five to six 'bigha' (about 2.8 hectares) of land. One bigha gives an income of about one lakh to two lakh (Rs 100,000 to 200,000)," said Thakur.

He added that cultivation of strawberries in 2.8 hectares of land could yield an income as much as Rupees 800,000.

Local cultivators say farmers from neighbouring states are coming to Himachal Pradesh to buy strawberry plants. Haryana and Punjab are the main markets for strawberry plants.

"Strawberry is mostly grown in Sirmaur district but it is grown in various other regions since many years. Now, we are concentrating on the commercial demand, its importance and the variety, so that people can earn more from its cultivation, and also, so that the farmers of the region growing strawberry can benefit from the export of the fruit. And we have number of schemes regarding this. Under HTM (Horticulture Technology Mission), we provide them a lot of benefits," said Narender Bragta, Horticulture Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

He added that the department is working towards the usage of available facilities like tissue culture labs effectively, and intends to introduce many others to further enhance the production.

Chandler, Tioga and Torrey are the main varieties of strawberry grown in the region. Confutura, Silva, Brighten, Douglas and Pajaro varieties are also being introduced to increase production. (ANI)

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