A 30-year-old tribal farmer, Jaipal Naik, has put Telangana on the map of avocado growing states in India. He cultivated the tropical fruit, which grows in temperatures below 38 degree Celsius, in one acre in his village Debbadaguda, 40 km from Hyderabad, in Rangareddy’s Kandukur mandal.
After dropping out of MBA in London, Jaipal embarked on growing avocados during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jaipal’s gamble paid off. His garden yielded 600 quintals in the first crop a few days ago, earning him a profit of ₹4 lakh. “I wasn’t expecting this yield at all. If proper cultivation methods are followed, this fruit can be grown extensively in India and Telangana,” the path-breaking farmer told TOI.
What’s more, he has already been approached by an export firm. “They want to send the fruit to Kuwait. Farmers should take up avocado cultivation as it will give two crops annually for 30 years,” he said.
Inspired by his adventure, techies and health enthusiasts are landing at Jaipal’s Debbadaguda garden to taste Telangana’s first home-grown avocados. His entire crop was bought in just three days.
Moreover, this is not only Telangana’s first crop of avo-cado, but also the first Australian variety of avocado imported from Bangladesh to India.
J Krishna Reddy, who has a nursery and is also a fruit farmer from Cherpally village in Mahbubnagar, imported this Australian variety from Bangladesh. The plants first reached Taiwan via farming networks and later farmers in Bangladesh started cultivating the fruit.
“This particular variety grows in higher temperatures unlike central American and Mexican varieties which are in demand throughout the world. This is also different from local Indian varieties grown in small pockets of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Him-achal Pradesh,” Reddy told TOI. Reddy said some farmers took one or two plants which he purchased from Bangladesh but they did not want to take risks.
“Jaipal took the risk to invest time and money and took 200 plants and within three years he had his first crop ready. As a result of Jaipal’s success, many other farmers are contacting me now,” Reddy said.
Jaipal does not mind selling the fruit at ₹200 per kg as against ₹450-₹500 a kg in Hyderabad’s upmarket stores and supermarkets. Hyderabad markets get the fruit from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Elaborating on his journey, Naik said: “I studied in Telugu medium and wanted to do something big. I enrolled for MBA in London after paying a high fee. But I struggled as my English is poor. I came back to Telangana and did odd jobs. I always wanted to be on my own. So I got into farming on our small piece of land. It cost me ₹1.4 lakh to grow one acre of avocado crop.”
Just as dragon fruit farming became popular in Telangana, Reddy believes avocado cultivation will also gain popularity in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Two years ago, tribal farmers in Visakhapatnam Agency cultivated avocado in 100 acres and litchi fruit in 200 acres.