Govt takes up pomegranate cultivation in Paschimanchal
Kolkata: The state government has for the first time taken up an initiative for pomegranate cultivation in Paschimanchal areas.
National Research Centre on Pomegranate at Solapur Maharashtra along with the state government planted 20,000 pomegranate saplings in the last two years in Purulia and Bankura.
The wages of unskilled labourers have been paid through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. Good quality saplings were supplied by the National Research Centre on Pomegranate under Tribal Sub-Plan. Meanwhile, drip irrigation systems were supplied by NRC Pomegranate in a few orchards.
Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs department has taken up a comprehensive plantation scheme of pomegranate with the help of NRC Pomegranate for its cultivation in Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, which areas are ideal for pomegranate cultivation.
The Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs department has set up model pomegranate orchards for livelihood of the Self Help Group (SHG)members in Paschimanchal areas.
As many as 50,000 saplings will be planted in the coming year in addition to the present 20,000 plants. It will create sustainable assets and livelihood.
70,000x30 kg production will be available per year (at least), that is, 2,100 metric tonne per year. If annually at least 1,000 metric tonne production can be achieved, then the income will be 21,00,000x100=Rs 21 crore per year, which will go to the poor families as their livelihood and income. Per hectare income may touch Rs 10-15 lakh per year as market price. India is the largest producer of pomegranate with Maharashtra being the largest producer in the country.
Pomegranate needs low rainfall and so Paschimanchal areas are ideal for the cultivation of the fruit. Pomegranate also has a long shelf life and can be stored for a longer time. Thus, the fruit can get time for marketing worldwide. There is great possibility of export and setting up of processing industry as well.
R K Pal, Director of NRC Pomegranate is attached with the project and the District Magistrates are implementing the project through BDOs in respective areas.