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In a significant development for the agriculture sector in Punjab, the cultivation of strawberries is rapidly gaining traction among farmers. The success story of Mr. Jaskaran Singh, who dared to venture into cultivating strawberries in the subtropical region, is turning heads and making strawberry cultivation an attractive option for crop diversification in the region.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of strawberry cultivation, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, along with university officers and scientists of KVK Muktsar, visited Mr. Jaskaran Singh’s farm located in the Gidderbaha block of Sri Muktsar Sahib.

Observing the success of strawberry cultivation in Punjab 01.03.2024, Dr. S.S. Gosal emphasized that this unconventional crop could revolutionize the region’s agriculture. The substantial financial gains, combined with crop diversification, highlight the potential for agricultural prosperity. He pointed out Mr. Jaskaran Singh’s case as exemplary, noting his adoption of advanced technologies and collaboration with agricultural departments, showcasing the progressive nature of our farming community. This success not only enhances incomes but also promotes a shift towards sustainable and diversified agriculture, Dr. Gosal exclaimed.

Mr. Jaskaran Singh opted for cultivating strawberries, breaking the norm as it is traditionally considered a temperate fruit crop. Despite the challenges, he successfully grew strawberries on 1 acre of land using a drip irrigation system in 2012-13. The lucrative returns prompted him to expand the cultivation area to 7 acres for strawberries, 2 acres for melons, 1 acre for watermelons, and 1.5 acres for other vegetables.

The farm is equipped with state-of-the-art resource conservation technologies, including drip irrigation, fertigation, plastic mulching, and low tunnels. Mr. Jaskaran Singh’s meticulous approach to cultivation has yielded impressive financial returns, averaging Rs 10-12 lakh per acre. Strawberries from his farm are sold at Rs 150-200 per kg in the local market, attracting traders who eagerly rush to his field to procure the fruit.

In addition to his farming prowess, Mr. Jaskaran Singh is well-versed in the packaging and marketing of strawberries. He maintains regular communication with the Department of Fruit Science at Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana and the Punjab State Horticulture Department, seeking updates, providing feedback, and facilitating technology transfer.

The success of Mr. Jaskaran Singh’s strawberry cultivation has not gone unnoticed. Rural youths from Punjab and other states engaged in agriculture visit his farm to witness the innovative cultivation methods and are inspired by his efforts.

Moreover, Mr. Jaskaran Singh played a pivotal role in advocating for subsidies on strawberry cultivation in Punjab. He became the first farmer in the state to receive a subsidy on strawberry cultivation from the National Horticulture Mission. The subsidy now stands at Rs 60-65 thousand per hectare, encouraging more farmers to explore strawberry cultivation as a viable and lucrative option.

The ongoing success of strawberry cultivation in Punjab not only signifies a diversification of crops but also sets a precedent for other farmers to explore unconventional crops, fostering agricultural innovation in the region.

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