Telangana

Nalgonda farmer opts for dates, reaps rich dividends

Bumper crop: Farmer Agaiah at his dates farm at Narsing Batla village in Nalgonda district.

Bumper crop: Farmer Agaiah at his dates farm at Narsing Batla village in Nalgonda district.   | Photo Credit: Singam venkataramana

Date palm is disease resistant and has a life of about 40 years, says official

For three years, farmers in Narsing Batla village, 18 km from the town, thought Sambasiva Rao, also a farmer in the same village, was wasting much of his resources by growing date palm trees in his two acre chowdu bhoomi (dry land).

But they were surprised when they saw green to golden yellow colour buds in strands and many such bunches hanging down from the 100-odd trees in that farm.“It appears to be profitable, a pack of ten fruits would sell at ₹ 10,” G. Yenkanna, an old farmer said.

Date palm (phoenix dactylifera), or khajoora pandu is an edible fruit rich in sugar, calcium, iron and potassium. Experts believe the plant originated near Iraq-Mesopotomia in 4000 B.C.

Each tree costing about ₹ 3,000, Mr. Rao experimented with Barhi variety trees four years ago believing the tree is disease resistant, has a life of about 40 years and would ensure returns in the long run. Appreciating the efforts of the farmer for going for an unusual crop and sending an inspirational message to the farming community, Commissioner of Horticulture L. Venkatram Reddy said all the agro-climatic conditions of the region are suitable for commercial cultivation of dates. “A rough estimation shows a single crop of this size can yield about ₹ 3 lakh for a farmer,” he said. In addition, the crop doesn’t require intense labour, prevents animal menace on farms, and always has market value.

Mr. Reddy also said the department would request Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to conduct research studies to understand the feasibility and propagation of the crop in the State. He also hinted that 60 date palm trees per acre could be given to farmers on a pilot basis.

Farmers, big and small, sharing their learnings and apprehensions about the crop said healthy competition could be maintained among the community only if they go for inter-cropping, tap technological innovation and follow best farming practices.

Progressive farmers said, “Date palms are simple to grow, even possible in one’s backyard,” while traditional and small farmers wanting to learn more said, “It is still not for us, how can we wait for four long years when it would start bearing fruits.” Farmer Agaiah, who bought this farm from Mr. Rao, is reaping the second crop this year and estimates the yield to be more than the first time. Situated between two important offices of the village, an electrical sub-station and the ZPH School, the date farm is the new landmark of Narsing Batla.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:02:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/nalgonda-farmer-opts-for-dates-reaps-rich-dividends/article19166349.ece

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