1.                  INTRODUCTION


Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is an important fruit crop of India and its commercial production is possible in temperate and sub-tropical areas of the country.


2.                  OBJECTIVE
The main objective of this report is to present a bankable one-acre model for high quality commercial cultivation of the crop. 
3.                  BACKGROUND

3.1              Area & Production


Strawberry is cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.  Sub-tropical areas in Jammu have also the potential to grow the crop under irrigated condition.


Estimates of area and production of the crop are not available.


3.2              Economic Importance
Strawberry is rich in Vitamin C and iron.  Some varieties viz. Olympus, Hood & Shuksan having high flavour and bright red colour are suitable for ice-cream making.  Other varieties like Midway, Midland, Cardinal, Hood, Redchief and Beauty are ideal for processing. 


4.1              Export/Import Trends


India exports strawberry mainly to Austria, Bangladesh, Germany, Jordan & U.S.A.


The trend in export of strawberry from India during the period 1999-2000 to 2001-02 is given in Graph 1 and country-wise exports during 2000-02 in Table-1. 



Table-1 : Country-wise export of  fresh strawberries from India during 2001-02.






(Rs.  in lakhs)



















 Source : APEDA, New Delhi














4.2              Analysis and Future Strategy


Strawberry has advantages of easy propogation, early maturity and high yield with 5-9% sugar.  To boost its production there is a need to develop infra-structure facilities for transport of produce to primary markets as the fruit is highly perishable.    Processing facilities in the major producing states have to be made for value addition.


5.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


5.1              Agro-climatic requirements


Strawberry grows well under temperate climate. Some cultivars can be grown in sub-tropical climate. Daylight period of 12 hrs. or less and moderate temperature are important for flower-bud formation. Each cultivar has a different day length and temperature requirement.


Sandy loam to loamy soil with pH 5.7-6.5 is ideal for cultivation.


5.2              Varieties Cultivated


Important strawberry varieties cultivated in India are Chandler, Tioga, Torrey, Selva, Belrubi, Fern and Pajaro.  Other varieties include Premier, Red cost, Local Jeolikot, Dilpasand, Bangalore, Florida 90, Katrain Sweet, Pusa Early Dwarf & Blakemore.





5.3              Land Preparation


The soil is ploughed during summer with a soil turning plough which is followed by repeated ploughing to make soil friable, remove weeds and stubbles. Soil fumigation with a mixture of methyl bromide and chloropicrin helps to increase root system, reduce fertilizer requirement and control the weeds.


5.4              Planting


5.4.1        Planting Material


Strawberry is commercially propagated by runner plants. For large scale propagation of virus free plants, tissue culture is widely used.


5.4.2        Planting Season


The ideal time of planting runners or crowns in hilly areas is September-October. If the planting is done too early, plants lack vigour and result in low yield and quality of fruits. If planted very late, runners develop in March and crops are light.


Runners are uprooted from nursery, made into bundles and planted in the field. These can be kept in cold storage before transplanting.


The soil should be frequently irrigated to reduce water stress in the leaf.  Defoliation suppresses the plant growth, delays fruiting and reduces yield & quality.


5.4.3        Spacing


Planting distance varies according to variety & type of land.  A spacing of 30 cm. x 60 cm. is usually followed.  In the model scheme, a spacing of 30 cm. x 30 cm. with a population of 22,000 plants per acre has been considered which was commonly observed in areas covered during a field study.


5.5              Nutrition


A fertilizer dose of 25-50 tonnes farmyard manure, 75-100 kg. N, 40-120 kg. P2O5, 40-80 kg. K2O/ha. may be applied according to soil type and variety planted.





5.6              Irrigation


Strawberry being a shallow-rooted plant requires more frequent but less amount of water in each irrigation.  Excessive irrigation results in growth of leaves and stolons at the expense of fruits & flowers and also increases the incidence of Botrytis rot.   


Irrigation is applied in furrows between the rows.  Trickle and sprinkler irrigation systems are becoming popular nowadays.  In case of trickle irrigation, 30% water and energy are saved. 


5.7              Training


Four different types of training systems viz. matted row, spaced row, hill and plastic mulch are used to train the strawberry plants.  Usually matted row system is followed in India.


5.8              Intercultural Operations


The field is kept weed free during the first season by harrowing & ploughing, applying herbicides or plastic sheet.  Inter-cultural practices are continued till the straw mulch is applied.


5.9              Growth regulators
Application of GA3 (50 ppm.) sprayed four days after flowering and maleic hydrazide (0.1-0.3%) sprayed after flowering increases the yield by 31-41%. Morphactin (@ 50 ppm.) improves the fruit size.
5.10          Plant Protection Measures
5.10.1    Insect Pests
White grubs, cutworms and hairy caterpillars attack the crop.  Areas where strawberries are to be planted should be free from white grubs and cutworms.  Application of endosulfan (0.05%) or malathion (0.05%) on appearance of caterpillars has been found to be effective in most cases.
5.10.2    Diseases

Main diseases reported are leaf spot and grey mould.  Application of carbendazim / thiophanate methyl has been found to be effective in most cases.


5.10.3    Disorders


Albinism (lack of fruit colour during ripening) is a physiological disorder in strawberry.  It is probably caused by certain climatic conditions and extremes in nutrition.  Fruits remain irregularly pink or even totally white and sometimes swollen.  They have acid taste and become less firm.  Albino fruits are often damaged during harvesting and are susceptible to Botrytis infection and decay during storage.


5.11          Harvesting  and Yield


Strawberries are generally harvested when half to three fourths of skin develops colour.  Depending on the weather conditions, picking is usually done on every second or third day usually in the morning hours.  Strawberries are harvested in small trays or baskets.  They should be kept in a shady place to avoid damage due to excessive heat in the open field.


Plants start bearing in second year.  An average yield of 45-100 q./ha. is obtained from a strawberry orchard.  However, an average yield of 175-300 q./ha. may be taken from a well managed orchard.  


6.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


6.1              Grading


Fruits are graded on the basis of their weight, size and colour.


6.2              Storage


Fruits can be stored in cold storage at 320C upto 10 days.  For distant marketing, strawberries should be pre-cooled at 40C within 2 hrs. of harvesting and kept at the same temperature.  After pre-cooling, they are shipped in refrigerated vans.




6.3              Packing


Packing is done according to the grades for long distance markets.  Fruits of good quality are packed in perforated cardboard cartons with paper cuttings as cushioning material.  Fruits of lower grades are packed in baskets. 


6.4              Transportation


Road transport by trucks/lorries is the most convenient mode of transport due to easy approach from orchards to the market.  

6.5              Marketing


Majority of the growers sell their produce either through trade agents at village level or commission agents at the market.


7.                  TECHNOLOGY SOURCES


Major sources for technology:


(i)                  Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, Solan, Nauni-173230, Himachal Pradesh.

(ii)                Directorate of Horticulture, Shivajinagar, Pune, Maharashtra-560003.


















8.                  ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


8.1              High quality commercial cultivation of crop by using high quality planting material and drip irrigation leads to multiple benefits viz.


                     Synchronized  growth, flowering and harvesting;

                     Reduction in variation of off-type and non-fruit plants;

                     Improved fruit quality;


Costs & Returns


8.2              A one acre plantation of the crop is a viable proposition.  Project cost of the model, along with the basis for costing are exhibited in Annexures I & II.   A summary of the project cost is given in the table below.


Cost Components of a One Acre Model Strawberry Plantation


                                                                                                                  (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Cultivation Expenses




Cost of planting material




Fertilizers & Pestsicides








Cost of Labour




Others, if any, (Power)




Sub Total







Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any




Sub Total



Cost of Drip (Turboline) with Fertigation







Store & Pump House




Labour room




Agriculture Equipments &  Implements




Others, if any, please specify




Sub Total



Land Development




Soil leveling












Others, if any, please specify




Sub Total



Grand Total


N.B: Cost of land, if newly purchased, can be included in the project.  This will be limited to

10% of the total project cost.


8.3              The major components of the model are:


                     Land Development:  (Rs. 4.0 thousand):  This is the labour cost of shaping and dressing the land site.

                     Fencing (Rs. 29.6 thousand):  It is necessary to safeguard the orchard by  a barbed wire fencing.

                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs. 50.0 thousand):  For effective working with drip irrigation system, it is necessary to install a tube-well with diesel/electric pumpset and submersible motor.  This is post cost of tube-well for one acre.

                     Drip Irrigation (Rs. 40.0 thousand):  This is average cost of one acre drip system for the crop inclusive of the cost of fertigation equipment.  The actual cost will vary depending on location, plant population and plot geometry.

                     Implements & Equipment (Rs. 5.0 thousand):  For investment on improved manually/power operated essential implements and equipment.

                     Building Infrastructure (Rs. 30.0 thousand):  A one acre orchard would require minimally a labour shed and a store-cum - pump house and a labour shed.

                     Cost of Cultivation (Rs.2.41 lakhs):  Land preparation and planting operations and cultural practices will involve 206 days of manual labour, the cost of which will come to Rs.14.40 thousand.  The cost of planting material works out to Rs.2.00 lakhs for 25000 plants @ Rs.8 per plant.


8.4              Labour cost has been put at an average of Rs.70 per man-day.  The actual cost will vary from location to location depending upon minimum wage levels or prevailing wage levels for skilled and unskilled labour.


8.5              Recurring Production Cost:            Recurring production costs are exhibited in Annexure III.  The main components are planting material, land preparation, inputs application (FYM, fertilizers, micro-nutrients liming material, plant protection chemicals etc.), power and labour on application of inputs, inter-cultural and other farm operations.

8.6              Returns from the Project:  The strawberry is short duration crop.  The crop planted in September-October starts going yield in May-June.  It continues to give yield upto 3rd year thereafter it needs re-planted.  Average yield of strawberry is 8 tonnes/acre with good management.  The average sale rate is Rs.40,000 per tonne.  Thus gross return works out to Rs.3.20 lakhs per acre/annum.  (Vide Annexure-III).


Project Financing


8.7       Balance Sheet:  The projected balance sheet of the model is given at Annexure  IV.  There would be three sources of financing the project as below:


                                    Source                                                   Rs. Thousand


                                    Farmerís share (50%)                                                200.00                        

                                    Capital subsidy  (20%)                                      80.00

                                    Term loan           (30%)                                   120.00

                                    Total                                                               400.00


8.8              Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement may be seen in Annexure V.   Annexure VI projects the profit and loss account of the model.  Annual gross profit works out to around Rs.184.70 per acre.


8.9              Repayment of Term Loan:   The term loan will be repaid in eleven equated 6 monthly installments of Rs.10.91 thousand with a moratorium of 12 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank. It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexures VII & VII A).


8.10          Annexure VIII gives depreciation calculations.


Project Viability:


8.11          IRR/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX.  The IRR works out to 45.07 and the BCR to 1.1. 


8.12          The Debt Service coverage ratio calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 8.0.


8.13          Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 2.31 years (vide Annexure XI). 


8.14          Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the third year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 51.3% of gross sales (vide Annexure XII).