At 3500 feet, Chikhaldara sports a weather conducive for strawberry farming. With the farms spread in over 100 talukas, the district can form a potential market for supply of finest strawberries to the country. Bringing to you wonderful stories straight from the Strawberry Farms of Chikhaldara, Amravati.
Exploring the Strawberry Farmville
As I reached the strawberry farms , it reminded me of the famous Facebook game ‘Farmville’,which completely changed the way people engaged with Facebook. The strawberry bushels used to be one of the amazing crop to play around with. Today, I was in front of a real farm though, and it was much better than the felling of a virtual farmland of course.
It also reminded me of the famous strawberry milkshake in the farmlands of Mahabaleshwar, that I traveled two years back. The taste here was no different than that I experienced in the strawberry farms of Mahabaleshwar. The temperature here does not dip as low as Mahabaleshwar, and the water table is also low, forcing the region to develop rain-water harvesting methods on the arid and hard soils. Despite this, human willpower can create magic what no one else can. Now, I won’t have to travel 12 hours to Pune to find fresh strawberries- it has come within 4 hours reach. 🙂 🙂
About The Strawberry Project
The Chikhaldara taluka is among one of the 14 talukas of Amravati district in which the strawberry farming is presently being promoted. The project has been developed in 50 villages across Amravati district. Despite the expected weather conditions of an ideal hill station, the soil conditions are not as good enough to produce the desired amount of strawberries.
‘The Strawberry Production Project’ is a collaborated effort of the Ministry of Tourism, Maharashtra and Shri Shivaji College of Agriculture, Amravati. A total of 12.5 acres of land has been developed into producing strawberry farms to promote local small scale industry and attract more tourists.
One farm is capable of producing approximately 130 kgs of strawberries in the peak seasons between October and April. Collectively, the 50 farmers have contributed as much as 45 MT of produce from the region, a reason enough for anyone to drive up to this place.
Take a Tour of the Strawberry Farms
The strawberries sell in packets starting from 100 gms to 250 gms and sells for about Rs. 300/- a kg. One tour of the farms is enough for you to understand the effort that has been put to make an otherwise impossible dream a reality. Growing strawberries on a land deprived of water table is still a long-standing challenge for this region.
What I also expected here was small businesses that depend on strawberry produce such as the ice-cream shops, strawberry jam and jelly factories, strawberry concentrates and syrups. However, a lot awaits to happen to make more travelers to come. With a little more help and exposure, the otherwise ‘lesser known’ Vidarbha can become a pioneer in generating strawberries despite its scanty water-tables.
It is time for me to make a move from here now. I have packed some strawberry souvenirs for the rest of the family. I have to try and experiment making strawberry jam at home.(May be, some of my friends here can help me out with it). It is time for some coffee and I am going to the coffee farms to fill up my mug with some hand-crafted coffee. see you there.. 🙂 🙂