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Rajasthan date palm production triples in three years

The largest cultivation area is in Bikaner district followed by Jaisalmer.

jaipur Updated: Jun 22, 2018 22:16 IST
Manoj Ahuja
Manoj Ahuja
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news
In 2007-08, the state government had started date palm cultivation on a trial basis on 135 hectares in Jaisalmer and Bikaner and had imported around 21,300 tissue culture raised saplings from the Gulf countries. (HT FILE PHOTO)

Rajasthan is estimated to produce nearly 2,800 tonnes of date palm this year, a rise of 75% as compared to last year and more than triple the first harvest of the fruit in 2015-16, officials said.

In 2007-08, the state government had started date palm cultivation on a trial basis on 135 hectares in Jaisalmer and Bikaner and had imported around 21,300 tissue culture raised saplings from the Gulf countries.

In subsequent years, the government started promoting date palm farming in 12 districts across Rajasthan. The largest cultivation area is in Bikaner district followed by Jaisalmer.

“The production this year is expected to be 2500-2800 tonnes, which is significantly more compared to 1600 tonnes last year. The cultivation area has climbed to 1,042 hectares but fruit yielding plants are located over 715 hectares. Date palm takes four to eight years to bear fruit after planting and yield is expected to rise in the coming years as trees grow older,” Horticulture department deputy director Durga Maurya said. The state had produced 800 tonnes in the first harvest of 2015-16.

The harvesting of date palm starts in June and continues till September 15. A farmer gets about Rs 1000 per kg in the market and earns about Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh profit from cultivation on one hectare.

Between 2008 and 2011, Rajasthan imported more than a lakh of date palm saplings from the Gulf and the UK, helping spread the cultivation across 12 districts in the state. A date palm tree has a lifespan of 15 years and maximum fruits are expected from 10th year onwards. Officials said that cultivation area was also expected to increase in the coming years as farmers are getting good rates for their produce.

The state government is promoting date palm farming in arid desert regions of north-western Rajasthan and giving tissue culture raised sapling to farmers at a subsidised rate under the centrally-sponsored scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

The state government has tied up with a private company for cultivating fine quality tissue cultured date palm saplings for distribution to farmers at a subsided rate.

Usually, a single sapling of date palm costs Rs 2,000- 2,500. The state is giving subsidy up to 75 per cent provided farmers use drip irrigation.

Rajasthan grows date palm varieties like Barhee, Khuneji, Khalas, Medjool, Khadravi, Jamli and Sagai. Other date palm growing states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 22:16 IST