Vizag will shortly become a hub for many rare crops in the region owing to its excellent fertility. The area is suitable for crops like apples, strawberry, grapes, pepper, basmati rice, organic coffee and many others. The average annual rainfall in this zone that includes parts of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts is up to 200 cm.
The district has coast, plains and hilly areas of the Eastern Ghats flanking on the North and Western parts of the agency region with an altitude of about 900 metres dotted by several peaks exceeding 1,200 metres. Sizeable areas in the division have black cotton soil and others are hill tracks with rich biodiversity.
The agriculture department and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology recently planted some apple varieties in Chintapalli mandal on an experimental basis and they are growing well despite being hit by strong winds during Cyclone Hudhud. Officials have also sown basmati rice on a few acres.
“Last year, on an experimental basis we cultivated broccoli, red cabbage, lettuce, green pepper, and brussels sprouts. The quality was very good. Strawberry, grapes and basmati were also tried. Black pepper, coffee, and rajma are being extensively grown,” said Dr C. Chandra Sekhar Rao, senior scientist, Horticulture Research Station, Chintapalli.
Strawberry, grapes and basmati have been tried out in the Vizag zone. These areas are also suitable for fruits like peach, Japanese plum, avocado, litchi, and cocoa.
Scientists have plans to introduce kiwi or Chinese gooseberry shortly. “We have tested environmental suitability for kiwi and it can be grown. We have recently planted some white grape plants in our research station for observing their growth. Some tribal farmers in the region have already witnessed good yield of grape, green apple that they have grown in their backyard,” said Dr N. Venugo-pala Rao of Regional Agricultural Research Station, Chintapalli.
Basmati rice too is expected to be very successful in the agency Mandals. Below is the Deccan Chronicle report