Green-fiNGErEd gentry come to aid of farmers, homemakers

Green-fiNGErEd gentry come to aid of farmers, homemakers
Highlights

For Rajyalakshmi, a homemaker in Arvindnagar residential colony of the town, gardening is first love. As someone originally hailing from coastal districts, she says she can discern a significant change in the tastes of people across the district.

Anantapur: For Rajyalakshmi, a homemaker in Arvindnagar residential colony of the town, gardening is first love. As someone originally hailing from coastal districts, she says she can discern a significant change in the tastes of people across the district. For, these days everyone seems to be attracted towards fruit trees and flowering plants. She points to the scores of nurseries that have sprung up in the town and how women have been making a beeline to these nurseries to buy flowering plants and fruit trees.

Love for greenery seems to be pervasive today, with verdure or at least a semblance of greenery on all main thoroughfares in the town. In a way, the district has emerged as the hub of nurseries, with more than 600 nurseries operating in various parts. They are catering to the needs of farmers and meeting domestic requirements.

As one goes down town in any direction, be it Kalyandurgam, Bellary, Benguluru highway, Battalapalle, Penugonda, Kadiri or Hindupuram, one can see hundreds of nurseries dotting the routes of the mandals with thousands of saplings being raised under shades and net.

Hitherto farmers were dependent upon seeds for planting vegetable horticultural crops like mango, guava, papaya, musk melon, water melon, sweet cucumber, sapodilla (sapota) berry, pomegranate and oranges to mention a few. The culture of sowing seeds has now made way to the practice of planting saplings raised by nurseries.

Most of the nurseries here have been procuring plants from Kadiyam, near Rajamahendravaram in East Godavari district, and from Telangana districts and from even as far as Allahabad district in Uttar Pradesh state. Hundreds of rural youngsters and farmers are setting up flowers, vegetable and fruit nurseries. They have found in nurseries new avenues for self-employment.

Veeranna and Obuleshu, who are running nurseries on the Kalyandurgam road, say that every week several lorries loaded with plants arrive from Kadiyam. The plants which are in demand include 10-feet-long mango plants, guava, berry (neredu), banana and papaya plants.

The only requirement is that they must be ready for plantation. These plants reach fruit-bearing stage within six months to one year and therefore are in high demand. They revealed that for setting up their nursery, they had invested Rs.4 lakhs, including the amounts spent for setting up pillars, trays, plastic sheets, bore-well and shade.

In one acre, about 70-80 mango plants can be raised. Each farmer purchases 400 to 500 plants for raising a mango farm extending over four to five acres. Amarender Reddy, a farmer who had purchased 400 mango plants from a nursery, says that horticulture plantation yields rich dividends in the long run, despite the long gestation period of one year to three years.

Once the plant reaches fruit-bearing stage, it is regular, handsome income for farmers, says Reddy. He says he purchased each mango and berry plant, measuring 10 feet to 12 feet, for Rs. 350 to 400. In these days of uncertainty in profitability of agricultural crops, horticulture crops are promising to farmers, in view of cost-effective maintenance and relatively less labor requirement, says Raju, who has been maintaining a nursery on the Pamidi-Guntakal road.

On the Kalyandurgam road, there are scores of tomato and vegetable nurseries supplying seeds and saplings to farmers. Horticulture Department deputy director Subbarayudu told 'The Hans India' that a new horticulture act, requiring those who had set up nurseries to register with the government, came into being in 2013.

In view of the mushrooming nurseries in the district, the horticulture task force was now engaged in visiting private nurseries for inspecting quality and for asking all promoters of nurseries to get themselves registered with the government within 15 days or face closure. Upon registration, the quality and prices of plants would be monitored.

The Department of Horticulture is also running its own nurseries for supply of plants to farmers. The department has a nursery each for berry in Hindupur, pomegranate in Kuderu, mango in Anantapur and papaya at Chigicherla. The department is also promoting low-cost shades and nets for nurseries by offering subsidies and incentives.

Swetha, a homemaker from Vidhyuthnagar in the city, is enthusiastic about her backyard garden flowers and fruits. Domestic gardens create a serene atmosphere and a cool climate during summer season. Besides, they are adding colours to life, Swetha told 'The Hans India' at a local nursery.

All told, nurseries are proving to be a boon to farmers as they are getting readymade plants for transplantation. Most of the plants supplied by nurseries are good, particularly those procured from Kadiyam, which is considered the capital of nurseries. The very fact that hundreds of nurseries have sprung up in no time in the district is reflective of the huge demand for vegetable and horticulture plants.

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