The district administration of Koraput has gone one step forward to make the people of the border-dispute hit Kotia region district not only self-reliant but also to keep the prying eyes of Andhra Pradesh at bay.
Thanks to the effort and encouragement by the Odisha government, the residents of Doliamba in the region have now mastered the art of successfully cultivating and harvesting strawberries.
The village of Doliamba, situated on the north side of Kotia, has the geological advantage of high altitude which favours strawberry cultivation.
This apart, modernisation and series of developmental activities undetaken by the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA ) under the direction of the district administration has also come a long way in fostering the berry farming.
Sources said, the farmers in the area started strawberry cultivation after a few months of training by ITDA. At present around five acre area of the land in the village is under the occupation of strawberry farming.
“Strawberry farming has given us a new way of life. We are hopeful of becoming self-sufficient with this new kind of farming which has been undertaken for the first time in our area,” said an elated villager.
According to sources, the move by the district administration to promote strawberry cultivation is also aimed at keeping the villagers intact from the influence of the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
“After a lot of research we found that Kotia soil is suitable for strawberry cultivation. We encouraged the villagers and helped them in undertaking the cultivation. The product has a huge demand in the national and international market and the cultivation will help them become self-reliant,” said an ITDA official.
As per Koraput Collector Abdaal Akhtar fruit cultivation will make the villagers financially independent and help them earn a living to meet the expenses of their families.
“Strawberry cultivation has been undertaken as part of the livelihood intensive action plan in the bordering villages. We are hopeful of its success,” said Akhtar.