The fruits of labour

The fruits of labour

At a time when there is no rain and the water table is sinking, this young farmer from Dandinashivara hobli in Tumkur district’s Turuvekere taluk has shown how to cultivate pomegranate and make profits.

This farmer, Ashok, has emerged as a role model for other farmers in the region. The taluk has been reeling under drought conditions from the last two years. Traditional crops such as ragi and paddy are not sustainable enough even for family members, let alone the question of making profits out of them. In the wake of the water crisis in the region, it has been difficult for farmers to grow commercial crops such as coconut, plantain, areca or take up mulberry cultivation. Though borewells are dug really deep, there is hardly any sign of water. Even if there is, there is severe shortage of power. It was such testing times that Ashok had to face. It then occurred to him to grow pomegranate in the two acres of barren land near Kondajji.

It was not as if Ashok had not received enough advice about the problems that would come with growing pomegranate. He had not got any positive feedback or encouragement even from the Horticulture Department officials. Most farmers were of the opinion that pomegranate cultivation was not a lucrative option because of the infestation of pests.

The only source of encouragement came from his wife Mamatha. Ashok and his wife persisted with their plans to grow pomegranate and brought 530 saplings of the Bhagava variety.

The saplings have grown in a matter of 17 months and there are bunches of fruit hanging from the trees. Ashok spent Rs five lakh on developing the land, installing a borewell and a solar fence. Each fruit weighs about 400 grams, and Ashok is expecting a yield of seven tonnes. The price of pomegranate is Rs 140 per kg, and Ashok hopes to make a profit of Rs three to four lakh. The trees bear fruit at least five to six times. Because there is no recurring expenditure next year, Ashok expects to make profits of over Rs five lakh.

“These saplings don’t need too much water. Also, I have ensured that there is adequate organic manure. I have also ensured that they get adequate nutrients,” he says. Ashok is of the belief that pomegranate is one crop that can be raised with little water, and is a boon for farmers in trouble.

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