Kiwi cultivators unhappy with marketing in Kullu

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Kullu, Oct 30 : Kiwi cultivators in Kullu in Himachal Pradesh though upbeat about the kiwi production complained that the inadequate marketing strategies are spoiling their business.

The agro-climatic condition of the sub-temperature zone favors cultivation of various fruits including apple, pomegranate and Kiwi.

Farmers and orchard owners here are delighted at the good output of Kiwi fruit that will fetch them lucrative prices.

Originally, a native fruit of China, kiwi spread to New Zealand during the 20th century. It was here that the commercial cultivation of kiwi started. Kiwifruit was introduced in Kullu way back in 1992-93 after obtaining the fruit from New Zealand.

Hewart, Elson, Banaro and Tamari are the varieties, which are grown in Kullu.

The kiwi orchards, spread across 30 hectares of land, produce more than 150 tons of kiwifruit every year.

But the lacks of proper marketing strategies dampen the business of the cultivators.

"There are four steps included in the production of this fruit before it is sent to the markets. These are plantation, protection, production and marketing. We farmers do all the three steps with accuracy, but one thing that disturbs us the most is marketing. Until and unless we do not make people familiar to this fruit and its benefits, it would not help us in marketing," said Daljeet, a farmer.

Kiwi falls under the category of one of the costliest fruits. It was the high price of the fruit that attracted many farmers to its cultivation.

But in the recent times, the prices have dropped. Though the horticulture department holds a hope and says that it would help the farmers explore new markets and improve the marketing policies.

"For the kiwi cultivators, we are opening new markets so that farmers can get good prices for their produce as they used to get five to six years ago. Earlier the rates of this fruit were quite high as compared to the recent times. But, we are trying our best to help the farmers get the right prices for their product," said Yashpal Mehta, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department of Himachal Pradesh Government.

Himachal Pradesh earns more than 2.5 billion rupees from cultivation of fruits and vegetables. By Prem Thakur

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