INI Farms and Munger Farms to conduct research on growing blueberries in State
The technical study for the locations has begun and western Maharashtra or Marathwada are the likely choices.
PUNE/MUMBAI: Blueberries, which were priced earlier at around Rs 4,000 per kg, might become cheaper as Maharashtra-based horticulture company INI Farms and US-based Munger Farms have collaborated to grow the fruit in the State.
INI Farms deals with pomegranate and banana farmers, from educating them to ensuring a better quality of produce and procuring it.
INI Farms Chairman and Managing Director Pankaj Khandelwal said, “Doubling the income of farmers was quite a buzz but for that, we need to build an entire value for each product and holistically solve the problem. Berry is an extremely high-value product and can provide farmers with good returns. However, in India, farmers do not have the technology and knowhow to grow them. With this joint venture, we are going to teach this to them. This will help farmers in getting good returns as well as provide consumers with berries at a cheaper rate.”
Munger Farms Owner and Director David Munger said, “Initially there will be a research project in the State to understand what it will take to grow blueberries successfully and which of the varieties would be successful depending on the climate. The next step would be to support farmers to grow them with the help of our technology. After that, the product would be sold to consumers and once the production begins in India, we will export it to other parts of the world.”
“The entire procedure would take two to three years and requires extensive research. We can’t risk farmers money and, therefore, the entire R&D will be done by us. We take care till the product is ready, from training the farmers to procuring the produce,” added Khandelwal.
Khandelwal felt that the farmers of the State were highly competent and it would be an ideal location for the production. He said, “We are based out of Maharashtra and the competence of Maharashtra farmers is higher as compared to the farmers from other parts of the country. There are 10 times more advanced horticulture farmers in the State with the ability to understand the technology. At present, we are working with around 2,000 farmers in eight states, out of which 50 per cent are from Maharashtra.”
“The technical study for the locations has begun and western Maharashtra or Marathwada are the likely choices. Once the research is over, we will first educate the farmers who are already associated with us and help them,” said Khandelwal.