Agartala: For the last three years, the Tripura’s Horticultural Fruit Research Center at Nagichara area in Agartala has been experimenting with strawberry cultivation.

The Tripura government is putting its weight behind cultivation of new types of agricultural products besides traditional fruits and vegetables. Cultivation of strawberries is one of the initiatives aimed at doubling the income of farmers.

Although strawberries are mainly grown in mild temperate regions, they are being cultivated commercially in various countries in the South, East and Southeast Asia due to the emergence of cultivable varieties in the Tropics. At present, due to the increasing demand for strawberries in the market, it is being cultivated commercially in different states of India.

In Tripura, too, demand for this specialty has grown significantly. The state’s amateur gardeners cultivate one or two strawberries in tubs at home. Currently, about 100 per cent of the demand for strawberry is met by importing it from other states.

The Department of Horticulture and Soil Conservation under the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the Government of Tripura has taken the initiative to see if it is possible to cultivate it commercially in the state.

Agriculture Officer Subrata Chowdhury said strawberries have been cultivated in three ganda lands this year. A total of 720 saplings have been planted by making 12 beds with a distance of 45 cm between each tree.

The trees planted on November 14 started bearing fruits after about 45 days. A total of three varieties of strawberries have been cultivated this year – Sweet Sensation, Florida Beauty and Winter Dawn.

“Yields from these shoots last for more than two months. Fruits are being collected from the trees every one or two days. The primary type is that a tree will bear 200 to 250 grams or more of fruit in one season, which is the normal productive capacity of a tree,” Chowdhury said.

The officials are sure that the soil of Tripura is suitable for strawberry cultivation and said it can be cultivated commercially here in winter. Officials said in the coming days, they will train farmers to cultivate this fruit.

However, the research centre gets trainees throughout the year. Those who are coming this season are also looking at strawberry cultivation as well as writing down the necessary information.

Chowdhury also said that these trees are not the only ones that produce fruit. He said new saplings are made from the fruit as well as the shoots, which can be sold commercially.

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