Palamu district is fast becoming one of the most exciting case studies for self-sufficient farming, crop diversification, watershed development, intensive cropping based on fruit crop, micro irrigation and traditional practices using latest scientific technology in India. The lateritic soil, warm summers with cool winters and average annual rainfall of about 1200 mm seen in Palamu is ideal for the production of orange, lemon, seasonal crops, vegetables, pulses, rare medicinal plants and flowers.
The small and marginal farmers are now actively into tomato farming as this area receives very little rain in the monsoon. Cash crops like strawberries, exotic flowers like English Rose, hybrid marigold and wild lilacs are grown along with tomato and have significantly increased the revenue of the farmers and provided steady employment for the locals.
Tomato is grown in both the kharif and rabi season with a lot of help from the central government and Birsa Agricultural University (BAU). As many as twenty-three varieties of tomato are grown in this district.
Varieties like Lakshmi F1, Hybrid US 440 and Kapila along with Arka Rakshak, Arka Vardan, Prabhav 1322, NS 501 and others are preferred by farmers for longer shelf life, higher productivity and higher price in the market. The tomatoes of Palamu are in great demand in the markets of nearby Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.
The Palamu tomato is preferred by local processing units for its juiciness, colour and ideal sweetness-tanginess. Tomato paste, ketchup, sauce, pickles, juice, puree, jams, rice masala pastes, preserved tomato and others are the main processed products from raw tomatoes.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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