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Anantapur farmers find new hope in fig plantation

Anantapur farmers find new hope in fig plantation
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Farmers in the district have found a new found love for the Asiatic origin fruit -'Fig-'(Anjuram) cultivated in Israel, Spain, Turkey and America and...

Kanekal (Anantapur): Farmers in the district have found a new found love for the Asiatic origin fruit 'Fig'(Anjuram) cultivated in Israel, Spain, Turkey and America and other western countries. Starting with just two hundred acres or so it has slowly expanded to 500 acres in the district.

There is a huge local market for figs and people are consuming figs earlier imported from Bengaluru and other towns. Sensing the huge local market and consumption of the fruit locally, farmers have experimented with the cultivation of the fruit in Kanekal region in L B Nagar area and have succeeded in growing the fruit.

The farmers have raised the plant in 350 acres of land and have found it to be highly beneficial. The plant is less susceptible to pests and plagues and reaches fruit-bearing stage in just 7-8 months. Farmer Jeevaratnam raising fig plantation in 10 acres of land in L.B.Nagar in Kanekal mandal says that a single plant yields 20-30 kilos of figs and about 500-1000 fruits. Figs are selling at Rs.50 -60 a kilo.

One acre of figs accommodate 400 plants. The cost of each plant is Rs.12. It would cost Rs.5000 per acre to plant 400 plants.
Prasad Reddy, another farmer says that he is growing figs in 20 acres of land. Even if the wholesale value of figs is a minimum Rs.20 per kilo, one can earn Rs.1.60 lakh per acre. More ever figs can be harvested continuously every 2-3 days and if everything goes as per calculations,

it is the most remunerative fruit among horticulture crops, he adds. Those growing the crop in 10 acres of land earns on an average Rs.15 lakh for a single harvest. In just eight months farmers start getting income on their investment.Horticulture APD Chandrasekhar told 'The Hans India' that as of now there is huge market and demand for the highly nutritious fruit. Fig tree is low in calories and 100 grams of fresh fruit carry only 74 calories.

They however contain health benefits including soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and pigment antioxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness. Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and higher concentrations of energy, minerals and vitamins. In fact 100 grams of dried figs provide 249 calories. The plantations are spread in Mullange, Kolipara, LB Nagar and other srrounding villages in Kanekal mandal.

Jabez Krapa David, another educated farmer says that he is trying the crop in his 10 acre land in Garladinne. He said that he found reference to the fig fruit in Holy Scriptures. The fruit is synonymous with the nation of Israel where the fruit is highly revered and is a symbol of the nation.

The department of Horticulture is extending a subsidy of Rs.12000 per hectare in the first year and Rs.4000 per hectare in the second year and also a similar amount in the third year. However the department of horticulture is also warning against indiscriminate plantation by all farmers as it would result in a drop in demand and also reduction of its price to rock-bottom levels.

By Ravi P Benjamin

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