After chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal failed to keep his promise, a Kapurthala farmer has successfully set up a strawberry farm on his own.
As per information, impressed by farming of strawberries in Kapurthala started by a farmer of Sawaal village, the CM
asked him to set up an exemplary project on 2-acre land and promised that the government would pay all the expenses on this project.
"The CM had himself called me and invited me to meet him during his visit to Begowal village on June 3 last year where he had announced that he would sponsor a model project to set up a strawberry farm on 2-acre land," Sukhjinder Singh, a farmer said.
Following the orders of the CM, after a few days, the district agriculture department of Kapurthala had sent a detailed project report of around Rs 10 lakh to accomplish this project.
As per the detailed project report, around Rs 2.5 lakh had been mentioned for 60,000 strawberry plants (30,000 plants on one acre) to be cultivated in the farm and other expenses were for machinery, including mulching machine, drip irrigation and raised bed machine.
Sukhjinder said after assurance by the CM, they had bought all the machinery and imported crop from Himachal Pradesh to expand the farming to 2 acres, which was initially started on 2-kanal land.
"In the hope of getting funds from the government, we had taken this huge risk and expanded strawberry farming to 2 acre by taking loans without having any assurance whether strawberries would nurture themselves in the Punjab weather or not," a farmer said.
"With the grace of God, we have successfully managed to grow the strawberries; the CM has failed to live up to his words," he said.
He said only he knows how he had managed to spend Rs 6 lakh to set this dream project of the CM rolling.
"Even after repeated calls and reminders to the agriculture department and the government authorities for funding of this project, they have not listened," he said.
Dr Manohar Singh, retired chief agriculture officer, said on the orders of the CM, a department had sent a detailed project report of about Rs 10 lakh to the higher authorities.
During a season, around 60-80 quintals of strawberries are produced.