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

In the previous four months, hundreds of wells have dotted the maps of nondescript villages in the drought-vulnerable Koregaon tehsil of Satara district. The village youth, most of whom ended up operating as head-loaders in Mumbai, returned to their indigenous destinations and are developing irrigation services to start strawberry cultivation. Just a handful of kilometres absent from Mahabaleshwar, recognized for strawberries and scenic sights, Koregaon has emerged as an additional strawberry hub in the previous handful of years. Now with reverse migration, strawberry cultivation in Koregaon is probably to multiply.

Farmers in the region use farm ponds — harvested rainwater in synthetic ponds — to proceed farming in the summer time. But the returned migrant youth have commenced digging wells to uncover a long-lasting answer to water scarcity. Strawberry, a shallow-rooted plant, demands considerably less quantity of water but requirements to be hydrated routinely.

“Koregaon, together with the Maan and Khatav tehsils, is a drought-vulnerable space. The majority of youth in these villages have migrated to metropolitan areas especially 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 again to villages. In the previous handful of years, farmers in Koregaon have toiled to cultivate strawberry using available irrigation services and now the new technology has joined them. You can see hundreds of wells getting dug,” suggests Swapnil Shinde from Asangaon village.

Sweet Charlie, Inter Down, Kamaroza and Shelva are main four well known kinds cultivated in the district and village farmers are selling strawberry saplings to farmers in other States including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar say Shinde.

Transform in perspective

Village seniors say that not all youth ended up fascinated in farming, and for this reason ended up unwilling to place in money and hard work in cultivation. But Covid-19 has transformed the scenario.

Satara-centered water conservation activist Avinash Pol mentioned that youth have to interact in cultivation as there are incredibly handful of solutions to earn livelihood in villages. “Water conservation and farming go collectively in Satara. Farming could be created successful with techniques to enhance production and advertising,” mentioned Pol.

Travelers and ice-product producers are the main consumers of strawberries in Satara, which has viewed a rise in processing industries in the previous handful of years. Strawberry cultivation was limited to a handful of huge farmers a handful of years back, but currently compact farmers have joined the league.

“Covid-19 has heralded a change in method and perspective of youth in direction of farming. Not incredibly the space below horticulture this 12 months has absent up in a huge way. Youth are back again in fields and lots of would proceed to be there even after Covid-19 pandemic recedes,” suggests Mohan Patil, a youth from Satara.

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