POMEGRANATE, A FARMER'S BEST FRIEND?

 

Ever heard of pomegranate being sown in soil meant for cash crops? Well, it's true, or rather, Mohan Dhumal has made it happen.

Mohan Dhumal, a resident farmer of Pimpri-Dhumal from a probably unheard of taluka in the interiors of Pune district of Maharashtra, was one among the many farmers facing a hard time

with growing the usual crops of sugarcane, sorghum (jowari) and fodder crops due to many a reason like scarcity of water, unfavourable weather etc.

But what was different about Mohan Dhumal was that he did not let himself get bogged down by these problems. He experimented. Breaking away from the usual, Mohan decidedly took a leap of faith and sowed seeds of Pomegranate instead. And what's more, by the look of it, Mohan is confident of getting a good produce amounting to 6 tonnes of pomegranate fruit and expects a profit of Rs 2 lakh approximately. Pomegranate, as per the dictionary, is defined as 'a spherical fruit with a tough golden-orange outer skin and sweet red gelatinous flesh containing many seeds' or 'a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall'.

The district has received rainfall lesser than it normally should have this year around, causing a lot of tension among the farmers out here. Those farmers who tried growing the usual cash crops like sugarcane, sorghum etc., lost all their produce to bad overall conditions. But, Mohan has successfully produced Pomegranate worth a whopping Rs 4 lakh 20 thousand out of just two acres of his entire 8 acre-land.

Did it cost him too much? Not at all. Mohan had to spend Rs 5 lakh to prepare his land for sowing pomegranate, Rs 16,200 for crops like bamboo sticks, fertilizers and insecticide. He then spent Rs 20,000 over manual labour, and an extra Rs 26,000 over certain sprays for precaution against seasonal insects and diseases. Thus, he spent a total of Rs 2,50,000 to grow pomegranate across 2 acres of land.

Next, he focussed on the issue of water availability. Mohan used water by drawing it from his borewell. 

Currently, the fruit is being sold at a market rate of Rs 60 to Rs 70 per kg, and is in great demand in Pune and Mumbai areas.

In the beginning, the other farmers were doubtful of a positive response to this innovative thinking by Mohan Dhumal. But with this one step by Mohan, and uncertainty of the weather nowadays, it has become clear that this kind of innovation and openness to experimentation in farming is the need of the hour. And now, going by the success of his experimentation, many of his peers have followed his footsteps and turned to growing this fruit, that is is perfect for growing in the available conditions. The pomegranate may not be the most consumed fruit of this age, but it definitely seems to have become the best friend of the farmers of this little village of Pimpri-Dhumal in Maharashtra.

BUREAU REPORT
MUMBAI

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