Maharashtra state:

India: Strawberry growers face tough time

Strawberry growers in Maharashtra say that the season of 2017 has been very tough. This might be the worst season for growers ever, with 90% of the fruit rotting due to excessive rains, say top officials of the Strawberry Growers Association of India (SGAI).

Last year, the late arrival of winter hit strawberry production but this season most of the produce is damaged due to fluctuating weather and unseasonal rains in the last month.

According to the president of the SGAI, just 10-15% of the harvested crop is good enough to sell. Therefore, prices are low in the range of 60 to 70 rupees (0.80 - 0.93 euros) per kg, he said. The daily production from the 2,000-acre strawberry plantation in Mahabaleshwar and surrounding regions is around 10 tonnes during this season. In Maharashtra alone, strawberries are cultivated on around 2,500 acres of land. 

According to the Financial Express, this year growers cultivated strawberries on 3,000 acres around Mahabaleshwar. But there is little point in talking about the total production when only 10-15% of it is good enough. Usually, production in the Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar belt is around 2,500 tonnes, in a good season.

“Rainfall caused significant damage to close to 90% of strawberry plantations in their most important growth stage of fruiting. Harvested strawberries and crops in the fields are falling prey to fungal infections, reducing the shelf life of the berry.”

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