Barabanki: Satyendra Verma started the cultivation of strawberries some 14 years ago. At that time, the future had seemed uncertain, but Satyendra’s unwillingness to do a job in the private sector inspired him to take up this occupation. Today, he owns 5 acres of land and adds profit to his income by growing strawberry crops. Back then, due to the unsuitability of weather and less demand for strawberries, Satyendra struggled to make profit. But now he reaps benefit from his fields by selling the same strawberries. 

Saplings from Himachal Pradesh

After completing his graduation, Satyendra was busy exploring career options. The prospects of a private job did not excite him and instead he decided to explore opportunities in the agricultural sector. 

During one of his trips to Himachal Pradesh, he encountered strawberries for the first time and decided to bring back saplings to his village. At that time, he had little knowledge about the cultivation of crops. He had conversations with local farmers, and they assured him that strawberries could thrive anywhere. Therefore, he planted the saplings on a small piece of land in his village. 

It was challenging to find customers to sell his produce. Satyendra expanded his network, and approached traders and introduced them to this new crop. It took a while, but Satyendra could finally sell his high-quality produce. After selling 10 percent of the produce for Rs 5,000, he realized the potential profitability of this crop. This motivated him to continue his journey as a farmer.

Cost of one acre of land

Satyendra shares the expenses of one acre of land; cultivating strawberries on one acre costs a minimum of Rs 7 lakh. Each plant alone costs over Rs 2.5 lakh, and then there are additional expenses for materials and labour. 

Satyendra is confident that a person contemplating about becoming a strawberry farmer should not worry as this crop will not incur losses but rather it would yield good profits.  As of now, Satyendra has not suffered from any losses and has managed to sell strawberries worth Rs 20 lakhs saving more than Rs 5 lakh per crop in a single acre of land. 

Dependence on weather

The monsoon pattern determines the quality and quantity of the strawberries. The crop heavily relies on rain, and late or irregular rains can affect the yield. The transplanting of strawberries is done between 15th September and 5th October. Satyendra obtains around 700 to 800 grams of strawberries from one plant. 

Satyendra lacked information about agriculture when he started off as a farmer. There were not enough resources to gain education from. He gathered information by consulting other farmers and learned from their experiences. Today, he has 14 years of experience as a farmer and gains immense profit from his produce.