NBU organic watermelons in Siliguri

 

NBU organic watermelons in Siliguri

A private company, IXB Agritech, in collaboration with the Centre for Floriculture & Agri-Business Management (COFAM) of North Bengal University has started farming organic watermelons at a village in Phansidewa block of Siliguri subdivision.

This is the first time in north Bengal that organic watermelon has been grown, said Amrendra Kumar Pandey, a practical demonstrator at COFAM that is giving technical know-how to the project.

Around 2,300 watermelon plants have been farmed on an acre in a farm at Radhajote, some 20km from the city, Pandey said, adding that each plant was likely to produce around 10 kilos of organic watermelon, one fruit weighing around 3 kilos.

 

 “We are expecting around 15 tonnes of fruits by this month-end. It is good that north Bengal residents can eat this organic fruit,” he added. “Organic crops are grown without synthetic pesticides and chemicals and are thus healthier, with more antioxidants.”

Pandey said COFAM had been promoting organic cultivation for years now.

Sources said the watermelon farm developed by Siliguri resident Pradeep Singhal, one of the directors of IXB Agritech, is the first IMO-certified organic farm in north Bengal.

IMO India is an independent certification body that carries out audits and provides certification for organic agriculture in the country.

Singhal said watermelon harvesting will start by month-end and they planned to deliver the fruit from farm to homes. “We are working on how to make the fruit directly reach homes. In the coming days, we plan to grow organic sweet corn, peas, tomatoes and dragon fruits too,” he said.

As of now, he has employed a supervisor and 12 local farmers for the watermelon project in association with COFAM, he said. “Once we increase the scale of production and start growing new organic fruits and vegetables, we intend to engage more people. Organic products fetch a better price in the market and we believe this can help encourage farmers here to go for organic production in their own fields. In due course, we plan to approach farmers and ask them to grow organic vegetables by assuring them that we will buy the produce,” Singhal said.

Eventually, Singhal wants to come up with a phone app that people of Siliguri and north Bengal can use to buy organic fruits and vegetables. “But that will take some months,” he said.

https://www.telegraphindia.com

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A private company, IXB Agritech, in collaboration with the Centre for Floriculture & Agri-Business Management (COFAM) of North Bengal University has s

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