Groasis Boxx: growing pomegranate trees in rocky terrain
Today, along with agriculture scientists from the BAIF Research Institute, I visited a farmer in Uruli Kanchan who had planted 50 pomegranate trees in rocky terrain using Groasis Waterboxxes. Pomegranates are small, drought-tolerant trees that are normally grown in dry areas with rainfall in summer or winter.
The famer's field lies in the village of Bori Aindi, about 7 kilometres south-east of Uruli Kanchan and 38 kilometres west of Pune city. Two years ago BAIF purchased 50 Groasis Waterboxxes at a cost of ₹1,250 each and passed them on to this farmer at a concessional rate of ₹200 each.
The farmer planted a first set of pomegranate trees about 16 months ago.
The farmer planted a second set of 50 pomegranate trees in early May this year.
On inspection, I found that all his trees were thriving despite no watering since loading 16 litres into each Groasis Waterboxx at the initial stage of planting. Dew was forming and the Groasis Waterboxx was pulling it in for plant use. The level of water was full to the top of the box even though there have been no rains for last 15 days. For the rest of one year as well, no watering will be done.
The Groasis Waterboxx is made only in Holland and has to be imported into India. The distributor has a list price of ₹1,250 per Waterboxx. A Waterboxx is good for at least 10 plantings, one each year. I estimate that if the Waterboxx were to be made in India and royalty paid to the manufacturer, the cost would come down to ₹500 to ₹600 per Waterboxx. The challenge lies in creating an alternative that would cost anything from ₹60 to ₹150 per box.