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From Arleng Daily to Arleng Fruits, A Journalist Starts An Unusual Project

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Flourishing Strawberry farming in the heat of Diphu's 36 degrees Celsius may be hard to believe for orthodox consumers, but believe it or not, T P Hansey, a journalist by profession, has made it possible by switching over to agriculture making it an additional trade.

This successful horticulturist has not only grown strawberries in his newly accrued land in the vicinity of Diphu town but has flabbergasted many experienced fruit growers by the quality of his berries. "The test and aroma of Hansey's strawberry cultivated thoroughly in organic method is much more succulent than those cultivated in ideal cool temperature of neighboring high ridge areas of Shillong" said Trimurti Das Hansey famous horticulture specialist of Assam.

T P Hansey, the publisher and owner of popular Karbi daily "Arleng Daily" has branded his produce "Arleng fruits" who embarked on his cultivation in January 2013, his first grafting has been done in January 1014. "I pick around 5 kg of fruit every day from my one bigha plantation right now. Since last year I have earned a net profit of around fifty thousand from strawberries. I was motivated to start this business after attending a district agriculture department workshop," T P Hansey said.

His original plants came from the Agriculture Department. "In 2011, I planted around 100 grafts supplied by the agriculture department. Out of the hundred plants, a few survived and I harvested around .5 Kg of strawberries every day, this encouraged me to take up the matter commercially. My plantation is located in Rongmili Rongphar village just 3 kilometers from Diphu, and my cultivated area has now 7000 plants. I have merged my farming with Bithilangso self-help group, and right now I am harvesting from 500 plants. None of my helping hands are formally trained nor myself, whatever I have learned is by browsing the internet, and since February last, I am harvesting 5 KG on average," TP Hansey said.

With no commercial electricity to the plantation, TP Hansey installed solar panels to generate power to run his motor set to pump water for sprinkling in the plantation, he also meets his domestic needs for power from the solar energy.

Right now "Arleng Fruit" is sold for rupees 500/- per kg in local market in pack of rupees 50/- and 110/-. Lots of people come every day to see the plantation which is currently in full bloom, and the heart shaped blood red strawberries in deep green leaf is a spectacle to observe.

Speaking about the future, "I am planning to take up strawberry cultivation in more scientific method in the days to come if all goes well" T P Hansey said in his concluding remark.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them. Read more stories by Sushanta Roy.

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