Jaskaran Singh and Jaspreet Kaur of Kaoni village are bucking the wheat-paddy cycle by cultivating strawberries. Their strawberry cultivation started in 2015 on one acre, but now they have expanded to six acres and are making nearly Rs 3.5 lakh per acre per year in profit.
According to the couple, “This fruit requires hard work and money, but it also yields rich profits. One acre of strawberry cultivation requires 25,000 plants from Pune. The total cost is Rs 2.5 lakh. Additionally, it requires hard labor, which costs us around Rs 1.5 lakh. Vitamin-C-rich and antioxidant-rich, the fruit fetches a price of Rs 300 per kg. We make nearly Rs 3.5 lakh per year in net income from one acre and spend nearly Rs 4 lakh on expenses. From mid-September to mid-October, the plantation takes place. It takes four months for the fruit to mature, and it is picked until April.”
We have created a mini-Canada in our village, people say to us when they ask for guidance. Our village has nearly 20 women working in our fields to plant, pick, grade, and pack fruit. Since this fruit has a shelf life of only three to four days, special care must be taken when transporting it. Currently, we are selling the fruit across the state and transporting it by bus. Strawberry cultivation is subsidised by the government, but strawberry insurance is not available. “Strawberry cultivators face sudden changes in weather, rain, frost, and fog.”
Further, nearly 100 acres of strawberry are currently being cultivated in the state. Farmers should switch to this fruit since it requires less water. Our district administration and a cabinet minister have both recognized me.”
The couple owns nearly 30 acres of agricultural land and grows strawberries every year. We are also experimenting with intercropping. Besides the six acres under strawberry cultivation, we grow vegetables on three acres and cultivate traditional paddy basmati and wheat on the remaining 21 acres,” they said.
“Jaskaran and his wife have carved a niche for themselves in strawberry cultivation,” said Kuljeet Singh, Assistant Director, Horticulture Department. Subsidies are provided by the department. Strawberry cultivation, however, requires some precautions and training. There are a majority of people who cultivate strawberries on less than an acre.”