1. Success Story

Tripura Tribal Farmer Grows Kashmiri Apple Ber; Earns Rs. 6 lakh

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Bikramjit Chakma, a Tripura native from Pecharthal, Unakoti

What ties Kashmir, Bangladesh, and Tripura together? It is the Kashmir Apple Ber, before you start thinking about conspiracy ideas. And Bikramjit Chakma, a Tripura native from Pecharthal, Unakoti, set an example of self-sufficiency by cultivating the fruit in his state, being the first individual in the state to do so.

And he has more than doubled his money in a year. How? Continue reading. 

Bikramjit works as a field officer with Tripura OBC Corporation throughout the day. But he also enjoys working with his family members. Bikramjit observed his uncle and two cousins growing potatoes, radishes, and other seasonal crops. However, they only made Rs. 1000 per month of profit. The family had plenty of land, but existing farming could not even meet a family's basic needs, let alone help them live happily. This encouraged Bikramjit to embark on a new business, even if it meant taking a risk. 

Of course, Bikramjit did not have much success at first. He and his relatives tried numerous crops, including areca nut, drumsticks, and so on, but after failing to make a profit, Bikramjit decided to try something new. 

"I was browsing on Google for crops that may be useful for cultivation when I came across a YouTube video from 'Shykh Seraj,' a well-known journalist from Bangladesh. He was discussing the advantages of planting Kashmiri Apple Ber in Bangladesh," Bikramjit said. 

Bikramjit wondered: if people can grow Kashmiri Apple Ber in Bangladesh, why not in Tripura, which has similar weather conditions and a long border with Bangladesh? 

He planted roughly 1,300 seedlings in a month starting in March of last year, and the plants began blossoming by the end of October. They were ready to harvest in January. 

"My uncle, Chanchal Kumar Chakma, and two cousins, Ranjit Chakma and Biswajit Chakma, all contributed significantly to the achievement. Today, we have profited as a result of their persistent efforts," adds Bikramjit. 

All crops were harvested and available for sale between January and March. They gathered around 40 quintals of Kashmiri apple ber, according to him. They sold 12 quintals of fruits to wholesalers and the remainder to the local market. 

"We had no idea the seedling I brought would grow into the Kashmiri apple tree. However, with the proper care, one may reap the benefits year after year," said Bikramjit, adding that he will get double the fruit next year. 

"Many people have never seen something like this in Tripura before. As a result, initially, it was able to sell at about Rs.200 per kg.

Later one day, we sold 12 quintals of the fruit to wholesalers for Rs.56 per kg. The remainder of the fruit is sold in the local market for an average of Rs.115 to Rs.120," he said. 

This year, the family made around Rs.6 lakh, and they expect to double the amount next year. "One tree produced a maximum of 25 kg and a minimum of 8 kg of fruit this year. We should be able to get 70 to 80 quintals of fruit next year. "Harvesting will begin in January," Bikramjit stated. 

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb hailed the unique approach, saying that Bikramjit Chakma, a Pecharathal local, has set an example of self-sufficiency. 

"This young man has found success by implementing a novel farming concept with his uncles. In the 6 Kani area, he grows Kashmiri apple ber trees. For the first time, it collected around 40 quintals of fruit. By investing Rs.2.5 lakh, this young man has made almost 6 lakh rupees.

Bikramjit is confident that the trees will produce twice as much fruit next year. I commend his initiative. "His drive to become self-sufficient and successful will encourage others in the state," Deb posted on Twitter. 

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