May 22, 2024


Imagination at work

Fruits of lockdown: Youth in drought-prone Koregaon join strawberry cultivation

In the very last four months, hundreds of wells have dotted the maps of nondescript villages in the drought-prone Koregaon tehsil of Satara district. The village youth, most of whom have been doing the job as head-loaders in Mumbai, returned to their native spots and are building irrigation facilities to get started strawberry cultivation. Just a handful of kilometres absent from Mahabaleshwar, identified for strawberries and scenic sights, Koregaon has emerged as one more strawberry hub in the very last handful of many years. Now with reverse migration, strawberry cultivation in Koregaon is very likely to multiply.

Farmers in the region use farm ponds — harvested rainwater in artificial ponds — to carry on farming in the summer season. But the returned migrant youth have commenced digging wells to obtain a long-lasting resolution to water shortage. Strawberry, a shallow-rooted plant, calls for significantly less volume of water but demands to be hydrated usually.

“Koregaon, together with the Maan and Khatav tehsils, is a drought-prone place. The vast majority of youth in these villages have migrated to cities specifically Mumbai to function as Mathadi workers (head-loaders). The new technology experienced shunned farming. But the Covid-19 outbreak in Mumbai has brought them back to villages. In the very last handful of many years, farmers in Koregaon have toiled to cultivate strawberry working with accessible irrigation facilities and now the new technology has joined them. You can see hundreds of wells staying dug,” states Swapnil Shinde from Asangaon village.

Sweet Charlie, Inter Down, Kamaroza and Shelva are major four well-liked varieties cultivated in the district and village farmers are marketing strawberry saplings to farmers in other States including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar say Shinde.

Modify in perspective

Village seniors say that not all youth have been intrigued in farming, and that’s why have been hesitant to place in revenue and work in cultivation. But Covid-19 has modified the state of affairs.

Satara-dependent water conservation activist Avinash Pol explained that youth have to have interaction in cultivation as there are quite handful of possibilities to earn livelihood in villages. “Water conservation and farming go jointly in Satara. Farming could be produced profitable with abilities to enhance manufacturing and marketing and advertising,” explained Pol.

Travellers and ice-cream producers are the major purchasers of strawberries in Satara, which has witnessed a increase in processing industries in the very last handful of many years. Strawberry cultivation was limited to a handful of big farmers a handful of many years ago, but currently little farmers have joined the league.

“Covid-19 has heralded a transform in technique and perspective of youth in direction of farming. Not astonishingly the place below horticulture this yr has gone up in a big way. Youth are back in fields and a lot of would carry on to be there even after Covid-19 pandemic recedes,” states Mohan Patil, a youth from Satara.