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Stevia World Agrotech offers cultivation under contract with buy -back
Tuesday, 15 December, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
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Stevia World Agrotech is offering contract farming to farmers with assured buy-back scheme.

With enormous potential for growth, the company is of the view that farmers in the country can earn around Rs one lakh revenue per acre annually with a plant life cycle of 4-5 years with Stevia.

The National Medicinal Plant Board under AYUSH supports Stevia cultivation by offering 30 per cent subsidy on cultivation costs. “India has favourable climatic conditions for large-scale cultivation of Stevia and this should help the farming community to a great extent,” said Manjunath Mandikal, director, Stevia World.

The company is now encouraging large-scale cultivation and processing of Stevia among the farming community in Karnataka. It is now driving the concept of contract farming to attract farmers to cultivation of the medicinal plant Stevia, which is an approved food additive globally.

The sweetener market globally is estimated to be around US$50 billion. Stevia is making enormous headway into this market as a natural choice of people who are health-conscious. Therefore contract farming with buyback assurance would not only increase earnings for the farming community but would dissuade rural-urban migration, according to him.

In order to help farmers maximise the benefits of its cultivation, the company organised the ‘Stevia Festival’ at last month’s Krishi Mela at the GKVK campus, Bengaluru. It also displayed products made of Stevia including cakes, chocolates, cookies and tea. Awareness camps were organised to throw more light on contract farming. “The objective was to provide a focus to the farmers present at the event on the large-scale cultivation and processing of Stevia which paid rich dividends,” said Mandikal.

Under the contract farming model, the company would supply the farmers with plant saplings. In addition, it would also provide detailed training from planting to harvesting, extend advice on land preparation, fertigation and plant management based on local parameters. The buyback of all the produce would be on a pre-determined rate based on the quality bracket. “This medicinal plant has a ready market and it does not require the kind of attention that other crops would necessitate,” he said.

Most parts of India are suited for Stevia cultivation as the ideal temperature range would be between 25°C and 35°C and the plant survives between 4°C to 45°C. Stevia cultivation was taken up in India in 2004 and 2006 which failed and this led to farmers across the country having some reservations about Stevia cultivation. “Thankfully, the perception is now changing with Stevia cultivation picking up in many states, mainly Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh,” said Mandikal.
 
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