VIJAYAWADA: There is an increasing demand for exotic fruits like strawberry, dragon fruit in the State, besides seasonal fruits. Strawberries being cultivated in Lambasingi and other parts in Visakhapatnam Agency are already gaining popularity. Now, the horticulture department has prepared an action plan for encouraging the cultivation of exotic fruits in the State. Exotic fruits are imported to the State from other States and even from abroad and are mostly available with super markets and major fruit markets. They are sold at a premium price and health conscious people purchase them irrespective of the price.
The Horticulture department thought that if some of those exotic fruits are grown in the State, it will not only ensure a steady supply but also help the farmers increase their income. Some of the farmers in the Agency areas, who are cultivating exotic fruits, say that their profits have increased manifold.
Ponde Chandravathi from Siripuram village in Chintapalli mandal of Visakhapatnam district cultivated winter dawn variety of strawberry in her one acre of land. She invested Rs 4,07,000 including Rs 1,71,000 on 18,000 saplings. The yield per acre was six tonnes strawberries and one kilo of strawberry was sold at Rs 150, that is Rs 1.5 lakh per tonne and total 6 lakh tonnes fetched Rs 9 lakh to her. After deducting the investment of Rs 4.07 lakh, she netted a profit of Rs 4.93 lakh.
“With an objective to ensure the farmer’s income gets doubled, for the first time, the horticulture department has prepared an action plan for 2021-22 for the promotion of globally popular fruits of high nutrition value,” Dr SS Sreedhar, commissioner of horticulture, said. The department identified exotic fruits and locally popular niche crops for promotion by scaling up their production and creating a better ecosystem for marketing. It will assist the farmers in production, promotion and marketing of their produce.
As per the action plan for exotic fruits, strawberry, which is presently being cultivated in 7.5 hectares, will be taken up in another 15 hectares in Visakhapatnam Agency region. Passion fruit for the first time will be introduced in the state and will be taken up in five hectares in Chittoor district. Avocado (butter fruit), which is being cultivated in just 0.80 hectares, will be cultivated in four more hectares in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.
Dragon fruit, which is gathering popularity in the State, is currently being cultivated in 104.24 hectares and will be cultivated in an additional 210 hectares spread across the State. Fig will be cultivated in 72 hectares in addition to the existing 169.20 hectares. Cultivation of niche fruit crops like aonla, karonda, garcinia, jamun, tamarind, jackfruit will also be promoted this year as per the action plan.