Don't leave Goa without tasting strawberries in Verlem, Netravali

Franky Gracias

Verlem in Netravali, which is situated at a height of around 725 metres, now has three strawberry farms after the inclusion of a new one.

Goa|Netravali|Cultivation | Photo: Franky Gracias

One will have to enter Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary to take the road to Verlem village that is nestled in the Western Ghats in South Goa.

Goa|Netravali|Wildlife sanctuary | Photo: Franky Gracias

The well-tarred road uphill has a steep gradient with many twists and turns and surrounded by dense forest.

Goa|Netravali|Nature|Wildlife | Photo: Franky Gracias

Once in the village, one can enter any farm after paying an entry fee of Rs 20 per person.

Goa|Netravali|Frams|Organic | Photo: Franky Gracias

...And pick up strawberries with the help of women from self-help groups who work on these farms.

Goa|Netravali|Nature|Pick & choose | Photo: Franky Gracias

In 2013, Panjim-based Mineral Foundation of Goa (MFG) helped the villagers to come up with the first strawberry farm.

Goa|Netravali|Nature|Employment | Photo: Franky Gracias

After 2013, many challenges cropped up, prompting the Goa government to form the Atal Gram Development Agency to take forward the strawberry cultivation.

Goa|Netravali|Atal Gram|SHGs | Photo: Franky Gracias

A single box of strawberries is priced at Rs 80.

Goa|Netravali|Nature|Fruits of labour | Photo: Franky Gracias

So, the next time you are in Goa, take the road less travelled to see this red revolution, which has created employment for many women of Verlem village.

Goa|Netravali|Women empowerment | Photo: Franky Gracias

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