Rising Strawberries, Farmer Goes From Incomes Rs 4000 to Rs 2 Lakh

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A tribal farmer in Maharashtra, Ramesh Bhiva Bangar is reaping phenomenal income by cultivating strawberries – a fruit that he had by no means even tasted earlier.

Positioned almost 90 km from Pune, the tribal hamlet of Kopre in Junnar is combating the depletion of its pure water reserves. The residents now depend on water tankers to fulfil their every day water necessities. Consequently, cultivating conventional crops, equivalent to paddy and wheat, has turn into a formidable problem for farmers on this water-scarce area.

Curiously, a shift to a brand new crop has introduced optimistic outcomes for one of many forward-thinking farmers within the village. Final September, Ramesh Bhiva Bangar turned to cultivating strawberries — a fruit that he had by no means tasted till he cultivated some on his farm!

Inside a few months, he went from incomes Rs 4,000 to Rs 2 lakh per season. His success has turn into exemplary for a whole bunch of farmers and agricultural officers who flock to his farm on daily basis.

In dialog with The Higher India, the tribal farmer reveals how he harvested phenomenal income.

Ramesh planted all 4,800 saplings in 10 guntha land.
Ramesh planted all 4,800 saplings in 10 guntha land.

My father feared I’d finish my life

Born and introduced up within the tribal-dominated Kopra village of Maharashtra, Ramesh might solely examine until Class 10. After finishing his education in 2006, he joined a neighborhood faculty as a peon. After working within the faculty for 2 years, he took up odd jobs like driving a pickup car earlier than turning to his household work of farming.

The household owns 22 acres of land however utilises solely two to 3 acres for cultivation owing to an absence of irrigation sources. So after cultivating paddy in Kharif season, Ramesh could be pressured to maneuver out to close by villages for every day jobs that might earn him Rs 350 a day.

“I needed to spice up our family earnings with out leaving my village. Additionally, I didn’t need to slog like my father and grandfather, understanding that my exhausting work wouldn’t yield good income,” he shares.

However Ramesh didn’t know a approach round it till he met his maternal uncle final 12 months. “He recommended I go for a brand new type of crop like strawberry on condition that my hilly village has Mahabaleshwar-like climate, which is appropriate for rising strawberries,” provides the 35-year-old farmer.

Ramesh Bhiva Bangar turned to cultivating strawberries — a fruit that he had never tasted until he cultivated some on his farm.
Ramesh Bhiva Bangar turned to cultivating strawberries — a fruit that he had by no means tasted till he cultivated some on his farm.

In a bid to arrange the sector for a brand new crop, he borrowed Rs 50,000 from his uncle and purchased 4,800 saplings that price him Rs 10 every. He returned to the village and began ploughing the sector.

“My father was very uncertain of my choice. He was frightened that I might fail to domesticate this new crop. And if I failed, then how would I repay the mortgage quantity? He feared that I’d flip to taking my life like different farmers within the drought-prone areas,” he says.

However with out dropping any hope, Ramesh ready the beds, planted all 4,800 saplings in 10 guntha land [40 gunthas make 1 acre], and utilized straw mulch over small strawberry crops to retain the soil moisture.

Each tenth day as he irrigated his crop, native folks mocked him. “I didn’t take any coaching from anybody. So, each time I might inform people who I used to be cultivating strawberries, they’d mock me and label me mad and loopy,” he says.

In the meantime, as an alternative of counting on any chemical fertilisers, he used cow dung, buttermilk, and curd that, he says, act nearly as good fertilisers and fungicides.

Greater than a month glided by, however there was no fruit. “Everybody doubted me, however I hoped to see at the very least one fruit in my area,” he says.

Every day, Ramesh harvests at least 20 kg of the fruit and sells it to the local market.
Day by day, Ramesh harvests at the very least 20 kg of the fruit and sells it to the native market.

Tasting strawberries and success for the primary time

Ramesh lastly laid eyes on the primary strawberry on his farm after 45 days (November-end).

“My pleasure knew no bounds. I provided the primary fruit to my son. He was so completely satisfied that he ran to his associates, proudly flaunting the strawberry whereas telling them how his papa had grown a brand new type of fruit. Regardless of how a lot I earn, that happiness was priceless for me. Cultivating strawberries turned a proud second of my life,” he shares with delight.

“And this was additionally the primary time in my life that I tasted strawberries. Earlier, I couldn’t afford to purchase this unique fruit by myself,” he provides.

Today, Ramesh is reaping phenomenal profits by cultivating strawberries.
At the moment, Ramesh is reaping phenomenal income by cultivating strawberries. Picture: Pixabay.

Day by day, Ramesh harvests at the very least 20 kg of the fruit and sells it to the native market. Priced between Rs 30 and Rs 50, he manages to earn Rs 3,000 a day. At the moment, he has additionally discovered patrons from close by villages in Junnar and the Pune district.

“The primary day, once I took my produce to the market, folks checked out me surprisingly and threw a number of questions at me. As I come from a small tribal village and I used to be new available in the market, no person knew me,” he says.

“However seeing me succeed up to now couple of months, they now come to me and inquire about my method and the way I achieved success. Now, once I go to the market, they vacate house for me and name me seth ji [a wealthy merchant]. However this doesn’t fascinate me,” he shares.

“Strawberries have helped me set up an identification for myself and a possibility to make my household proud. That is all that issues,” provides Ramesh, who now goals to increase strawberry cultivation to 4 instances the current farmland.

Edited by Pranita Bhat; All images: Ramesh Bhiva Bangar.



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