Mumbai: Extended monsoon damages 60% of strawberries, fresh crops to arrive by mid-December

Apart from the mother plant, even full-grown trees and fruits were damaged during the rainfall in the first and second week of October.

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Friday, October 28, 2022, 12:42 AM IST
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Mumbai: Extended monsoon damages 60% of strawberries, fresh crops to arrive by mid-December | File Photo

Mumbaikars will have to wait for some more time to get the taste of strawberries this year as the extended monsoon has damaged the crops severely. Strawberry growers say that fresh crops will take time and that only by mid-December, the annual fruits will be available in good quantity.

Apart from the mother plant, even full-grown trees and fruits were damaged during the rainfall in the first and second week of October.

Strawberries have good demand in Mumbai and normally, the supply begins at the beginning of October and by December's first week, the fruit is available in good quantity. However, this year, the scenario is different.

Balasaheb Bhillare, president of the Strawberry Grower Association of India said that around 60 plants were damaged due to rain in October. “Apart from the mother plants, even full-grown trees laden with fruits damaged in the rainfall,” said Bhillare.

The mother plants are imported from California and planted in plain areas. Bhillare added that since mother plants also got damaged, Indian species plants will be planted. “Since we could not get strawberries from the mother plant, we have to rely on Indian species now,” said Bhilare.

Cutting or clones from mother plants grow much quicker than seeds and contain all mother’s desired characteristics. “Strawberry will be in good quantity only by December first or second week,” said Bhillare.

According to traders at the fruit market in the agriculture produce market committee (APMC) in Vashi, around 50 crates of strawberries are arriving per day. “We can expect more arrivals by the end of December,” said a trader. He added that at present, it is available for around Rs 400 per kg in the wholesale market.

Mumbai receives strawberries from Mahabaleshwar, Nashik, Pune and Karnataka. However, other cultivation centres across India are in Nainital, Dehradun, Kashmir valley, Bangalore and Kalimpong (West Bengal).

In Maharashtra alone, strawberries are cultivated on around 3,500 acres of land. In Satara district alone which includes Mahabaleshwar, the fruit is cultivated at around 2500 acres. Strawberries need full sun and good drainage. If water accumulates, the plant will get damaged. “This is why hilly areas are a more preferable place for strawberries cultivation,” said Bhillare. He added that farmers incurred huge losses this season.

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