Farmers in Himachal Pradesh turn to pomegranate production
Farmers in Kullu are increasingly taking to pomegranate cultivation that is fetching them good business in the sub-temperate zone. The global warming has taken a toll on many varieties of traditional fruits grown in the state , both in terms of quality and quantity. This has adversely affected the business of the apple and plum cultivators whose business was marred due to climatic changes. In order to combat the drooping apple business, a group of farmers in Kullu have started cultivation of pomegranates as cash crop.
The yield has been good and many farmers have benefited from the cultivation of these crops. The government too has promoted the cultivation of the crop in the sub temperate zone. "Since 2002, people started planting pomegranate. These days pomegranate is cultivated on almost 435 hectares of land in which mostly Kandhari, Hansi, Mridula and now from past two years Sindhuri (various varieties of pomegranate)
production is very good and people are making good business by selling it in the local market," said Ramesh Kumar Thukral, Horticulture Development Officer, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
The pomegranate cultivation has ushered the farmers to a new socio-economic life style. Cultivators say that they earn as much as one lakh rupees from one Bigha (0.625 acre) of land. "Of late, the pomegranate cultivation has proved to be a boon for this area. In all, we produce almost pomegranate worth about rupees one lakh from one Bigha (0.625 acre) of land. This year, my target is to product worth Rupees 1.5 lakh. People should concentrate on cultivation and not go out elsewhere to work," said Jai Kishan, a pomegranate cultivator.
Approximately 2.07 lakh hectares of land in Himachal Pradesh is under horticulture cultivation, which yields approximately five lakh metric tones of different kinds of fruit. Himachal Pradesh earns more than Rs 2500 crores from cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Pomegranate, which has recently picked up in the region, is believed to possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially when it comes to prostate and heart health. By Prem Thakur