JACKFRUIT GROWERS IN VIDARBHA MADE GAINS
WHILE MOST farmers in the drought-hit Vidarbha region of Maharashtra are devastated by crop failure, jackfruit producers are reaping rich rewards. In the past 10 years, jackfruit cultivation has been spreading slowly in Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Amravati and Gadchhiroli districts.
Sixty-five-year-old Kamal Naine Golchcha in Chandrapur district earned ` 50,000 this year from his two-hectare (ha) jackfruit plantation, where he had planted 350 trees a few years ago. "I get 80-100 kg of jackfruit from each tree," says Golchcha. He owns another plantation of 4 ha, where he had planted 1,100 trees four years ago. "The trees yield only after seven years, but jackfruit will never fail even when other crops do," he says with pride.
Ram Bhavu Uke, a farmer in Kamatwada village in Yavatmal district, earned ` 40,000 this year by selling raw jackfruit from the 15 trees planted by his father 13 years ago in their 2.8 ha land. "Raw jackfruit has good demand in hotels here. It is used as dummy meat," explains Golchcha. Raw jackfruit sells well in Nagpur, Vidarbha's biggest city.
Uke says jackfruit has the potential to enhance the economic and nutritional status of Vidarbha's farmers. He is earning extra money by selling saplings to fellow farmers. This year, he sold 500 trees for ` 20 each, earning ` 10,000. "Many farmers from my village now grow two to three jackfruit trees," he adds.
Kamal Golchcha of Chandrapur district earned 50,000 this year from his two-hectare plantation