Himachal to see day neutral saffron and strawberry cultivation

Shimla: Cultivation of saffron and strawberry would be possible in the hills of Himachal Pradesh with altitude varying between 200 mts and 3000 mts as Edge India Agrotech is introducing 'day neutral' exotic varieties for open fields.
Strawberry day neutral cultivars 'Whitney and Albion' have been tried and introduced by Edge India Agrotech (EIA) and their behavior is being studied and monitored by the expert researchers at EIA, Bob Notellman, an expert from California (USA) said.
The day neutral varieties are the ones which bear fruits throughout the year irrespective of the season and day length.
A cultivar is a plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation.
The successful trial has paved the way for cultivation of strawberry in the state, which faces constraints like limited land holdings and unpredictable climatic conditions.
Edge India imported the trial breeds of Whitney and Albion from California and propagated them by using shelter farming methods in Mashobra and Sainj farms.
Nottelmann expressed his desire to develop next generation planting material by establishing a nursery in the state under the aegis of Edge India Agrotech in close cooperation with the state government.
Mahesh Sood and Vivek Sharma of Edge India informed that nurseries of imported breeds would be set up at Dhanula, Mashobra, Sainj and Kufri. Plants would be supplied to local growers within a radius of 30 kilometres.
Saffron cultivation at Sainj in close cooperation with consultants from Ireland has produced highly encouraging results and it would play a vital role in improving agro economy of Himachal Pradesh, Vivek Sharma said.