After strawberry, dragon fruits and apples, farmers in Visakhapatnam agency have now started cultivating avocado and litchi. More than 400 tribal farmers are slated to take up the cultivation of these fruits in 300 acres of land. The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) is preparing the ground for the cultivation of these fruits on an experimental basis by providing saplings from other states including Kerala and Bihar.
ITDA has identified tribal farmers for cultivation. Avocado will be grown in 100 acres and litchi in 200 acres. Avocado and litchi plants can survive in the weather of some parts of Visakhapatnam Agency, say sources.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, ITDA project officer Salijamala Venkateswar said, “We have sent proposals to the tribal welfare department. Around 200 farmers will cultivate half an acre land each. We need 60 plants.” Avocado, commonly known as ‘butter fruit’ in India, originated in Mexico and Central America. A tropical fruit, it looks similar to the pear. Avocados are said to be a good source of nutrients. They are said to be good for digestion and natural detoxification. The fruits are also said to be healthy for pregnant women and are said to protect them from chronic diseases. They are rich in vitamins B, E and K.
According to project director Venkateswar, avocado plants were earlier grown along fences to protect other crops. But now, the fruit has emerged as a prime cash crop owing to low production costs and high returns. The ITDA will be spending Rs 6 lakh on procuring saplings.
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