Tripura man sows 'ber apple,' harvests Rs. 3.5L in profits
Meet Bikramjit Chakma who cultivated the Kashmiri "ber apple" on his 1.25-hectare land and earned a net profit of Rs. 3.5 lakh in one season, winning accolades from the Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb. Chakma said he came to know about the cultivation of "ber apples" from neighboring Bangladesh and decided to try his luck with the fruit in Tripura.
Chakma bought 1,300 saplings from West Bengal last year
Tripura has similar climatic conditions to that of Bangladesh. Chakma, who hails from Pencharthal Constituency of Tripura, said, "I bought 1,300 saplings from West Bengal at Rs. 2.5 lakh and planted those in March last year, which were harvested in January this year." "I earned Rs. 6 lakh by selling the produce," he added.
He harvested 40 quintals of 'ber apples'
Chakma said his uncle and two cousins used to cultivate potato, radish, and other seasonal crops on the same land, which fetched only about Rs. 12,000 per year. "Altogether, 40 quintals of 'ber apples' were harvested, of which 12 quintals were sold in the wholesale market and the rest in the open market at an average price of Rs. 115-120 per kg," he added.
Chakma hopes to harvest 80 quintals next year
"We never thought that the sapling I brought would bear so much fruit. With proper care and watering, we hope to harvest close to 80 quintals next year," Chakma said.
He has set an example of self-reliance: CM
The Chief Minister of Tripura has hailed Chakma for his innovative idea that set an example of self-reliance. "This young man has achieved success by applying a fancy idea in farming with his uncles. He cultivates Kashmiri apple ber trees in six Kani areas. Bikramjit is optimistic that the trees will bear double fruit next year," Deb said in a Facebook post.
Horticulturists believe this can be a boon for unemployed farmers
Horticulturists in the state are hopeful that the cultivation of "ber apples" would emerge as a means of livelihood for unemployed farmers. Baharul Islam Majumder, Former Director of Horticulture Department, said that there are many fruits that can be cultivated in the unused and uplands of Tripura. "I'd request the government to announce a special package for the growers," Majumder said.