Strawberry cultivation in India: Conditions and Distribution
Strawberries are heart shaped beautiful fruits. While enjoying them, many questions about Strawberry cultivation in India must have come into your mind, that what are the major producing states in India? what are the climatic conditions to grow it?. After reading this post you will be able to answer such questions. Strawberries are produced across the world.
Climatic conditions for Strawberry farming
In India, it is generally cultivated in the hills. Temperate climatic conditions are considered ideal for strawberry cultivation. Still some varieties of it can be grown in semi-temperate conditions also. Using the poly houses and green houses it can be grown in tropical conditions too. Some farmers in Rajasthan and Gujarat are doing so.
Strawberry requires a well-drained medium loam soil, rich in organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic with pH from 5.7 to 6.5. At higher pH root formation is poor. The presence of excessive calcium in the soil causes yellowing of the leaves. In light soils and in those rich in organic matter, runner formation is better.
Strawberry cultivation in India
Strawberry cultivation in India was introduced by the Britishers. In the beginning, its cultivation was started in Hill stations such as Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Shimla, Manali, and Nainital. Because of the growing popularity and demand in the domestic market, strawberry cultivation in India has spread to many parts of the country.
In most parts of the country, it is sown in September-October and harvested between January to March. But in Kashmir, it has broad harvesting season from January to June.
Top strawberry-producing states
Maharastra is the number one strawberry growing state in India. As per the latest data, Maharastra produced 15000-tons of Strawberry accounting for more than 85% of the country’s production. Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani Hill stations are famous for their tasty strawberry.
The strawberries of Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani enjoys the Geographical Indication(GI) tags also. Other producing districts are Pune, Satara, and Sholapur. Chikaldara is one of the hill station in the Vidharba region. Local farmers have started growing strawberries as a cash crop near Chikaldara.
Strawberries from Maharastra are exported to various countries such as Malaysia, Bangladesh, and other Asian countries. In our country demand for various strawberry based products such as Ice cream, juices, and other flavored drinks is met from the Maharastra.
2. Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir is at the distant second position in the country in terms of Strawberry production. in 2015 it produced more than 1000 tons of strawberries. Srinagar and nearby towns are the primary producing region. Besides Srinagar, strawberries are grown in Ganderbal, Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Islamabad and Pulwama.
The strawberries in Kashmir always remain in demand as they are very rich in sugar content than strawberries grown in the Himalayas and northern regions of India. And more importantly, it was historically used for medicinal use.
3. Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is the third largest producer of Strawberries in India with a production of 500 tons. The low-lying hills of Himachal Pradesh have ideal climatic conditions for Strawberry cultivation. The eastern district of Sirmaur has a monopoly in Strawberry Cultivation and production with 90 percent of the total yield in the state.
The town of Paonta Sahib & Nahan is leading producing areas. Kullu-Manali region is the new hot spot for Strawberry cultivation.
Sirmaur district falls in the South-Eastern part of the state so it is very near to Dehradun which is the main market for the Strawberries.
4. West Bengal
Northern hilly districts of the state such as Darjeeling & Siliguri, are emerging Strawberry producing districts. The farmers in North Bengal finding it beneficial to grow Strawberries. One important feature of the Strawberry here is that it is mostly a product of Organic farming.
Uttrakhand is the other emerging strawberry cultivating state in the country. It also has an ideal temperate climate in medium altitude hill stations such as Mussoorie, Nainital, and Almora. Presently UdhamSingh Nagar, Nainital, Ramnagar are famous Strawberry growing districts and towns.
The Strawberries of Ramnagar are famous for their unique flavor and very less sugar content, which enables them for various medicinal uses.
6. North-Eastern states
Almost all the North-Eastern states except Assam has huge potential for Strawberry cultivation. They are mostly hilly and Climates in winters are favorable for Strawbery farming. Presently it is cultivated in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghayalay, and Nagaland.
7. South India
The plainer regions of South India have tropical climate so they are not suitable for Strawberry cultivation. But in the Western parts, the presence of the Western Ghats and some Hill stations allows strawberry cultivation. Nilgiri hills are famous for strawberry cultivation. Other hill stations such as Kodaikanal and Ooty also have some strawberry farms.