Explained National

Strawberries from Bundelkhand Speak About the Progressive Outlook of Farmers and Administration

Making agriculture attractive can’t be done through mere sloganeering. It needs innovative thinking and exploration of new avenues. The state of Uttar Pradesh is providing one such example.

From January 17th to Feb 16th 2021, Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, and the district of Jhansi in Bundelkhand to be precise, is celebrating Strawberry festival.

According to a report in News18, it all started with two families in Jhansi that successfully cultivated Strawberry. Now the UP administration is thinking about encouraging the spread of Strawberry cultivation to the whole of Bundelkhand.

The region was never known for fruits. Jhansi district is in fact known for its production of pulses, oilseeds and ginger. Bundelkhand has also been known to be one of the most backward regions across India, marred by water shortages and consequent high crime rates. These families however have shown that the strawberries can be grown there, effectively using drip irrigation and sprinklers in farming to ensure judicious use of water.

Now, the Strawberry festival is making this new identity of Bundelkhand known to the world, while also training the farmers who are interested in Strawberry cultivation with an aim to provide a new avenue of income via horticulture for Bundelkhand. One kilogram of strawberries from a strawberry plant is available for nearly ₹70 to ₹80. The strawberries grown in Jhansi have the same taste like the famous strawberries of Mahabaleshwar.

According to district administration, Strawberry is grown on a total of 24 acres of land in the district by nearly 20 families in Jhansi.

Inaugurating the festival through video conference, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that “The work for growing strawberries in Bundelkhand started from a terrace and was then taken to farms. It is an exemplary work… The cultivation of strawberries in Jhansi will give Bundelkhand a new identity and will stop the migration of people from the region”.

The Other Examples in India

Saffron farming which was limited to a couple of places in J&K is now being extended to Sikkim. Plants from seeds transported from Kashmir to Sikkim and acclimatized there are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of the Sikkim. Saffron farming is also being pushed in Himachal Pradesh, with Saraj in Mandi District following Lahaul Spiti seeing trials on the same.

In November 2020, scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) based in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, announced that they had planted 800 saplings of Ferula asafoetida in the cold desert region of Lahaul and Spiti.

There are efforts underway to expand the cultivation area and provide research help to further strengthen the position of Northeast in Kiwi production. A farm to fork value chain creation is evolving by taking all the stakeholders onboard.

The dry region of Kutch had long-back scripted a success story in fruits cultivation, the account of which you may read in our article Why PM Modi Chose Kutch to Counter Misinformation Over Farm Laws? This Should be the Reason.