Andhra Pradesh

Chittor’s farmer’s ‘date’ with innovation!

Farmer C. Bhaskar Naidu at his farm in Sri Rangaraja Puram mandal of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. Photo: Special Arrangement  

When the local farmers end up in losses by hitting the beaten track, here is a farmer who has the ability to take forward his out-of-the-box thinking with courage.

C. Bhaskar Naidu decided to have a ‘date’ with a new plant after shunning the idea of planting mango saplings, as Chittoor district is already saturated with mango trees in over a lakh acres. His farm in Pedda Thayyuru village in Sri Rangaraja Puram mandal is the first in the district to grow and harvest fresh date fruits.

A resident of Bengaluru and a civil contractor by profession, Mr. Naidu chose this unique crop by clearly estimating its market potential. The decision was backed by solid commitment and careful study of the crop. “We visited tissue culture farms in Rajasthan and Gujarat States where the date plants are grown in a large extent. By this August, my plants are completing four years”, Mr. Naidu told The Hindu. Nearly half of the 140 trees planted in his farm came to harvest, but the first yield, as is the case for any crop, was less then expected. “I got 50kg per tree this time, but every tree will give me 200 to 250kg in three years”, says the confidence-personified Mr. Naidu.

Going natural

The entire farm is managed in a natural manner, where urine and dung obtained from native cows, jaggery and neem are used as pesticides and growth enhancing agents. “No chemical agent is involved in the entire process”, chips in K. Gangadharam, a natural farming enthusiast, who is the consultant for the project. Going for natural agents not only rids the trees of rot, pests and diseases, but also enhances the taste of the fruit.

Though marketing is not an issue at all for an exotic fruit such as fresh dates, Mr. Bhaskar Naidu has been successfully selling the produce on the Chittoor-Puttur highway abutting his farm. He is selling the fruit for ₹250 a kg, which is quite a decent price, and he is quite happy with the encouraging response. He suggests to fellow farmers to think beyond the routine and have a ‘date’ with new ideas.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:09:26 AM |

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