MEERUT: Sewaram, 38, a farmer in Meerut’s Amarpur village used to grow sugarcane in his one-acre holding for years now. “There were problems with sugarcane farming, the money from mills would come late,” said Sewaram. One of his farmer friends, meanwhile, told him about strawberries, and he got 1,500 saplings and planted them in half of his land just to see whether it was a good choice, at all. The result, however, surprised Sewaram as his income doubled — the plot that would give an income of nearly Rs 10,000 after cultivating sugarcane was now giving him Rs 20,000 with strawberry farming. Though he came across some teething troubles like finding the right place to procure strawberries saplings, over the years strawberries have given sweeter gains than sugarcane. “I had initially purchased strawberry saplings from Himachal Pradesh for Rs 2 per plant. While the crop flowered well the first time, it got damaged the next season. Then I got the saplings from Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. It cost me Rs 10 per sapling and an additional transportation cost of Rs 2 per sapling was also levied, but the crop came out well,” said Sewaram.
While he suffered losses during the lockdown and due to a bad season, he is getting a good return now. “If somebody is interested in strawberry farming, he can do it along with sugarcane. Strawberry is sowed in December and gives fruits by March. So, sugarcane can then be sown after March,” said Sewaram. Sewaram, who uses drip irrigation at his strawberry farm, says the fruit has given him sweeter gains than that of sugarcane. “Initially, my family was a little apprehensive since we had always been into sugarcane farming. But, doing sugarcane farming is no longer a matter of pride because the money comes late and there are risks involved, too. I used to get Rs 10,000 from sugarcane, but now I’m getting Rs 20,000 from strawberries cultivation in the same area,” said Sewaram.
At his strawberry farm in Meerut’s Amarpur village, he packs strawberries in small boxes and then sells them at Naveen Mandi here.