Farmers in Punjab’s Malwa region have taken a lead by adopting innovative cultivation methods to grow exotic crops like dragon fruit, figs, strawberries and bell peppers.
In Malwa region, during the early winters, farms covered with poly sheets are an unusual sight. Farmers who are into strawberry and pepper farming use these sheets to cover the saplings at the initial stage to protect them from extreme cold conditions. But this needs a lot of investment.
Crop diversification is attracting young farmers. One strawberry grower learnt about strawberry farming from videos on YouTube and last season experimented with the crop on only two acres of land. This yielded him good returns and his strawberries were sold at a premium of Rs 350 (€3.85) per kg. Buoyed by the success he has leased another two acres of land and had doubled the area of strawberry crop.
However, according to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) Data 2017-18, while Haryana leads in berry production with a 58.02 per cent production share, Punjab is nowhere in competition.