What made you quit boxing and switch to strawberry farming?
When I started strawberry farming I didn’t have any knowledge as I didn’t study agriculture. Strawberry farming was started by my father, and at that time I used to play boxing. Due to lack of knowledge he experienced a great loss in first year. That’s why I quit boxing and engaged myself in strawberry farming. But what was disappointing was that our agriculture teachers didn’t have sufficient knowledge about strawberry farming. So I researched on the Internet about strawberry farming. I developed links with farmers from countries like US. I used to chat with them about strawberry farming, and they guided me in this respect.
Why did you choose only strawberry farming? There are many other ways to do something innovative?
The main reason of choosing strawberry was that it is a profitable occupation in comparison with other occupations here. See, a normal farmer who cultivates wheat or rice earns 70-80 thousand rupees in a year, whereas with strawberry farming, in one acre land, a farmer can earn a profit up to 7-8 lakh rupees in a year.
What difficulties did you face in the beginning? And how did you overcome them?
There were no major difficulties; if you have sufficient knowledge of strawberry farming then it can easily be done. But in the initial stage I faced some problems, though, as I had no knowledge about such farming.
What technology do you use?
I have not used any technology. I have done farming in a simple way as it is done.
How much are you able to produce?
32,000 plants are planted in one acre land. In an average one plant gives 400 gm of strawberries. And in mandi it is sold at Rs 100 per kg. So a plant can fetch Rs 40 profit. Altogether, through strawberry cultivation, a farmer can earn around Rs 1,280,000. But in the initial stage I didn’t earn any profit. I have been engaged in farming since the past 2-3 years, since I was 17-18 years. But today, from one acre land we make a profit of between Rs 6-9 lakhs, and I take land on lease for farming.
As strawberry farming requires huge amount of money, how did you manage to source the initial capital?
Funding was entirely done by my father.
What more do you want to do in future?
I want to export strawberries, but it will take around 2-3 years. We are working on the project. Now I am going to plant strawberries in 200-300 acre land in Punjab. I will ask farmers to cultivate strawberries, and then I will buy from them and then make juice, jam, etc.