State govt takes up grape cultivation in a big way at Purulia, Bankura
Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government is taking up cultivation of grapes in a big way in Purulia and Bankura districts. The National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) based in Pune has identified the two districts in the state for expansion of grape cultivation in the country.
"We have started the cultivation of grapes on a small scale at Purulia and Bankura for the last few years and have found that the soil and the climate condition in these two districts are congenial for large scale grapes cultivation. A team from NRCG under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research visited Bengal and after thorough testing of all parameters have given the nod for cultivation. They are also allocating a reasonable amount of funds for the same," Subhasis Batabyal, vice chairman of West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (WBAIC) said.
Taldangra and parts of Chatna in Bankura and areas adjacent to the Ayodha Hills and parts of Balarampur in Purulia are being used for the cultivation. "The government is also planning to set up a wine manufacturing factory at Bankura adjacent to the bank of river Damodar," a senior official of WBAIC said.
Four of the five varieties of grapes that will be cultivated in the state can be utilised in producing wine of excellent quality. The official claimed that the varieties whose skin are thin and blackish in colour will be of better quality than the other grape producing states in the country.
The cultivation will be supervised by Dr Satya Narayan Ghosh of the College of Agriculture, Susunia, Bankura which is an extension of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya.
Around 25 Lakh tonne of grapes are produced in India every year. The top grape producing states include Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram. The most grown variety of grapes is Thompson Seedless and its clones.
Recently, the state government for the first time has 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 Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs department has taken up a comprehensive plantation scheme of pomegranate with the help of NRC P for its cultivation in Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram.