Strawberry is an important fruit crop of India with commercial production in temperate and subtropical regions.
Strawberry is easy to cultivate in parts of India and has earning potential with less capital investment. It can be grown in parts of India, which includes Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan.
The profit potential from Strawberry cultivation is up to Rs 3-4 lakhs. Interested in pursuing strawberry farming in India? Here’s the guide with complete steps for beginners, top producers and cost & profit potential.
Strawberry Benefits – Are they Nutritive?
The benefits of strawberry fruits are many; let’s recall some.
- It protects heart health.
- It increases HDL (which is good cholesterol).
- Strawberry lowers blood pressure.
- It fights signs of cancer.
Strawberry are packed with vitamins & fibre and have high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Strawberry is a low-calorie fruit free from bad cholesterol, fat and sodium. Clinically proven, strawberry is a highly impactful fruit that prevents illnesses. However, your daily intake limit should be 8 pieces a day.
Now you know the benefits of Strawberry fruits, here are some factors that can help produce these delicious fruits without a hassle.
Technical Factors to Sow, Grow & Harvest High-Quality Strawberry Fruits
Here are a few factors to consider for the high-yielding cultivation of strawberry fruit in India.
1. Soil Requirements
Strawberry can thrive in well-drained, medium-loam soil with rich organic matter. Moreover, slightly acidic soil with a ph ranging between 5.7 to 6.5 is highly preferable for this kind of cultivation. Runner formation is usually best when the soil is light and rich in organic matter.
Some important dos and don’ts for planting:
- Planting in a green-manured field highly recommended.
- Avoid planting on the same land over the years.
- Alkaline soil or any soil infected with nematodes should be avoided at any cost.
2. Climatic Conditions for Growing Strawberry
Strawberry are native to temperate climates. To form flowers, this plant requires a short period of sunlight of about 8 hours daily for 10 continuous days. However, the plant remains dormant in the winter and shows no growth.
When the temperature rises and the days become longer in the spring season, the plant starts growing and developing flowers. However, the varieties that grow in milder subtropical climates can grow even in winter without chilling.
3. Strawberry Fruits Propagation
For a new plantation, you can use a plant with a good root system. Propagation done via runners that develop after the blooming season. The plants can produce as many runners as possible, but they shouldn’t produce any fruit.
A single plant can easily develop 12-18 runners when given the best temperature and growing conditions.
4. Planting of Strawberry
Strawberry farming requires deep ploughing, followed by harrowing. Optimum units of organic matter should be added to the soil before planting. Any method between hilly rows, matted rows, and flatbeds or raised beds are ideal for sowing. However, in irrigated areas, ridges are highly preferable.
In Mahabaleshwar, farmers prefer to plant on raised beds of dimensions 4X3 or 4X4 (depending on the soil condition and land size).
Planting Space & Season
The planting can vary from region to region based on land type and the strawberry cultivar you prefer. As per the study, a planting distance of 30cmX 30 cm with 22,000 plants per acre is preferable.
The ideal months for transplanting are — March to April and September to October. However, for plain areas, January to February can be suitable too. Mahabaleshwar, Tamilnadu farmers prefer planting during November-December.
Strawberry seeds sown in the soil with roots going straight down. Moreover, the soil around the plant should be firm enough and have enough space for air to pass. And the growing part should above the soil surface. During planting, ensure frequent irrigation to ensure the plants don’t dry out.
Best planting season for Strawberry
You can plant runners or crowns of Strawberry fruits during September & October in hilly areas. However, ensure the planting is not too early or too late. If planting done early, the yield will be less. While if fruits planted late, the runner will form in April, and the crops appear light.
5. Irrigation for Strawberry
Since Strawberry fruits have shallow roots, they require frequent irrigation cycles but in limited quantities. This fruit is highly tolerant to drought. To avoid the mortality of plants, the newly planted runners should be frequently watered.
- If there is no rain between September & October, irrigation should be done twice.
- And during November, it should reduced to weekly intervals.
- In December & January, irrigation should be every fortnight.
- Increase the irrigation once the fruiting starts. Since, at this stage, larger fruits are possible.
6. Manure & Fertiliser Schedule
Depending on the soil type and variety, a farmyard manure of 25-50 tonnes should be added to the field. And the NPK schedule should be as follows:
- N – 40-120 kg/ha
- P – 205 kg/ha
- K – 20 kg/ha
Applying fertilisers through tractor-mounted fertiliser sprayers is highly beneficial. These battery-operated or manual sprayers effectively spread the material for quality yield.
7. Intercropping in Strawberry Farming
Strawberry fruits are a companion to grow with crops such as beans, borage, lettuce, chives, peas, onions, radishes & spinach.
8. Mulching in Strawberry Cultivation
During the winter season, covering crops with mulch can help protect the crop from freezing injury. Mulching keeps the fruits:
- Free from soil
- Reduction of the decay of fruits
- Conserving soil moisture
- Lowers soil temperature in hot temperatures.
Straw mulch is highly suitable for protecting this nutritious and delicious fruit. Black alkathine mulch is also suitable for covering the soil. Additionally, mulching helps
- Save irrigation water.
- Keep soil temperature high.
- Eliminate weeds.
9. Harvesting & Yield from Strawberry Plant
Strawberry fruits are ready to harvest when half to three fourths of the skin rips. Depending on weather conditions, the picking can be scheduled every 2nd to 3rd day during morning hours in small trays & baskets.
Moreover, they should be placed in shady areas where sunlight is limited. In the plains, the fruit ripens from late February to April. However, in the high elevations of Nainital, Kashmir, and Mahabaleshwar, the fruit ripens from May to June.
The dos and don’ts of harvesting Strawberry:
- Fully ripe fruits should be picked for nearby markets. But for distant markets, the fruit is still firm, and the colour is yet to develop (as during transit, the fruit ripens).
- During the dry season, harvesting should be done during the early mornings. And since the fruit is perishable, daily harvesting is highly recommended.
- Avoid frequent washing of fruit as it causes bruises and loses its shine.
Average Yield from Strawberry Plants
Note that the yield varies according to the variety you are growing, the season and the growing area. The plant becomes fruit-bearing within the second year of sowing.
An average yield of 20-25 tons of Strawberry per hectare is highly favourable. If given proper care and ideal agro conditions, the yield can go as long as 50 tons of Strawberry per hectare.
The average yield from a strawberry orchard is 45-100 quintals per hectare. And if the orchard is well-managed, the yield can be 175 to 300 quintals per hectare.
10. Post Harvesting & Marketing
After harvesting strawberry fruits, the following activities are the next best thing to do:
- Grading – After harvesting, strawberry fruits are harvested and further graded based on their size, weight and colour.
- Storage – These fruits can be stored at a 32-degree C for up to 10 days. And for distant distribution, the fruits require pre-cooling at a temperature of 4 degrees C within 2 hours of harvesting. And for further distribution, they should transport in refrigerated vans.
- Packing – Further, fruits of high quality are packed in cartons and wrapped in cuttings to stay protected. While the lower grades Strawberry fruits packed in baskets.
- Transportation – The graded, stored and packed fruits are carried to the market through trucks/lorries for a safer and timely commute.
- Marketing – Many farmers use village-level agents or commission agents to market and distribute their produced strawberry fruits.
Now you know what things to keep in mind during strawberry cultivation in India, let’s discuss states where strawberry production is huge.
Top States for Strawberry Production in India
Hydroponic Strawberry Farming in India
Do you know that while we grow organic food at home with scarce water and no soil, a farmer can cultivate even in a drought-prone area in a hydroponic system and earn a profit?
A farmer hailing from Madhya Pradesh produced ‘Soil-less’ Strawberries in 3,000 sq ft and increased profits by 70%.’
Here’s a success Story of Ratlam-based farmer Arvind Dhakad Growing Hydroponic Strawberry!
Dhakad, a 38-year-old grower from MP, felt guilty about growing chemical-based food back home that gave fewer returns. Today, Dhakad has made it possible to grow hydroponic Strawberry fruits. The hydroponic model now gives him a high yield of almost 50 % faster growth, and his profits have increased up to 70 %.
Now he grows about 1000 kilos of strawberry/cycle on 3,000 sq ft. Dhakad believes this farming type is possible in home gardens as well.
Here are a few experiences or tips Dhadak shares for other growers:
- 2×3 square feet is ideal for this farming type. And during vertical hydroponics, more than 30 pots with setup costs of about Rs 3,000.
- To start this edible garden on the balcony, rooftop, windowsills, or even backyard, proper sunlight, water, and oxygen required.
- Dhakad, after returning from Israel, set up a small project at an investment of Rs 22,000.
- He arranged ready-made strawberry plants from a local nursery. He also bought a PVC pipe, a cocopeat, a water tanker, a nutrient solution, and a motor pump.
How did he set up everything?
In a 15×20 sq ft area, he placed 600 strawberry pots on a self-made tabletop hydroponic system. That, too, in a few months with multiple pipe layers.
He says 5-8 acres of land can accommodate around 70,000 strawberry plants, compared to 10,000 plants in traditional methods.
Strawberry Vertical Farming
Vertical strawberry farming allows you to grow a large number of strawberry plants in a little area. Moreover, growing strawberry plants off the ground protects them from pests and fungal diseases. In addition, it reduces the need for weeding as well.
Cost & Profit of Strawberry Farming in India
The average strawberry farming profit can be Rs. 4,75,000 (4 Lakh 75 thousand) per acre if ideal weather and growing conditions are provided. The profit from farming Strawberry can be higher than most crops.
Strawberry Farming in Greenhouse
Yes, it is possible to grow Strawberry in a greenhouse system. However, the following conditions need consideration:
- Strawberry need a lot of heat and light since they produce best in warm yet dry conditions.
- And they should at least have 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Moreover, ensure that greenhouse windows are clean and don’t restrict the incoming natural sunlight.
Strawberry farming has great potential to scale in India. The earning and profit potential from this kind of cultivation is immense. India has great agro conditions to sustain the planting, growing and harvesting of edible and pigmented Strawberry.
If you apply the above tips and considerations, you can expect favourable returns up to Rs 8,00,000 against the sum of Rs 4.6 lakhs.
For more storage farming information, stay tuned with the Tractorjunction blog, as we keep publishing everything up and everything latest around modern farming practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Que. What is the benefit of strawberries?
Ans. Strawberries have a richness in vitamin C and important antioxidants that helps reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease & strokes.
Que. What is the season of strawberries?
Ans. June is the best season for strawberries.
Que. What type of plant is strawberry?
Ans. Strawberry is an edible fruit that belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). It is mainly native to temperate regions.
Que. What is the use of strawberries?
Ans. Strawberry is a plant eaten as an edible fruit, while its leaves are crushed to make medicines.
Que. How to cultivate strawberry?
Ans. To cultivate high-yielding strawberry, provide proper sunlight, temperature, soil and manure.
Que. How to perform strawberry organic farming?
Ans. For strawberry organic farming, choose an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight for a new strawberry bed. Furthermore, well-drained soil is highly suitable for avoiding drought and root rot. Using organic chemical-free fertiliser and manure helps
Que. How much is the strawberry farming profit per acre in India?
Ans. Strawberry farming profit per acre can be Rs 4,75,000.