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Old 22-04-2013, 09:46 AM posted to soc.culture.indian,,,alt.politics.economics,soc.culture.indian.gujarati,sci.agriculture,alt.politics,talk.politics.misc
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Default Saffron, apple, cashew... Gujarat farms turn exotic

Saffron, apple, cashew... Gujarat farms turn exotic

By Niyati Rana
Sunday, April 21, 2013**

Ahmedabad - Innovative farmers are growing crops that are
difficult to grow in water-deficient regions.

Farmers of Gujarat are now challenging nature. Despite
water shortage in the state, many farmers have been
successful in growing crops which need a lot of water and
for which Gujarat’s climate is not at all favourable.

For instance, apples, saffron and cashew are difficult to
grow in water-deficient states like Gujarat.

Yet some enterprising farmers have experimented and
succeeded in growing these crops despite the unfavourable
climatic conditions.

Cashew is being grown in Saurashtra and South Gujarat
while Anand Agricultural University has been successful
in growing saffron, albeit in greenhouses on its farm.
Incidentally, saffron has long been associated with
Kashmir and its climate.

Businessman Rustom Cama has recently joined farmers in
experimenting with different crops.

Apples generally grow in places like Himachal Pradesh
where the climate is damp and cold. But he has been
successful in growing around 100 apple trees on his arid
farmland near Mount Abu.

Cama said that he started growing apple trees four years
ago and that the trees had yielded good quality fruit for
the last two years.

“When I first asked a university for apple plants so that
I could grow them on my farm near Mount Abu, the
university refused. The university evidently thought that
it was not possible to grow apples in Mount Abu,” said

He further said that as there is shortage of water in the
region, it is not possible to grow apple trees in large
numbers. He, however, added that he had not found the
climate to be much of a problem and the apples grown on
his farm were of good quality.

As for saffron, AAU has grown this spice in greenhouses
on its farm in Anand. University officials involved in
its farming say that it can be grown in North Gujarat
areas – in Patan, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and
Gandhinagar. Saplings for this purpose can be had from
Badgam district in Kashmir valley. The officials say that
the quality of saffron grown in Gujarat is as good as
that of saffron grown in Kashmir. The period of August to
November is most favorable for its cultivation.

In Saursahtra and South Gujarat, farmers have been
successful in growing cashew nut. According to an
estimate, 7826 hectares of land in Gujarat is used for
cashew farming. The harvest is around 22,860 metric
tonnes. Bharat Patel, one of the farmers cultivating
cashew in Halvad, said he had grown around 150 cashew
trees on his farm.

“One has to be careful when cultivating cashew as
watering of the plants has to be done systematically. I
have been growing cashew for the last three years. Though
the volume of the yield is not very high, the quality of
cashew is good,” Patel said.

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Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

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