Mumbai-based Chetan Soorenji, who works in a corporate office, is deeply in love with the environment and gardening. Even living in a metro city, 40-year-old Chetan has created a great eco-system around him. A few years back, Chetan started growing passion fruit at his home as an experiment. Due to the passion fruit flower, Krishna Kamal, the number of butterflies and bees in his garden has increased so much that natural pollination has become excellent in the whole garden and now he is doing urban bee keeping in his house. Along with this, he is working to increase natural pollution through passion fruit to farmers of many villages of Gujarat. For this, he works as an associate with an organization in Mumbai in the free time he gets from his office.
Passion fruit helps in natural pollution
Chetan, who has been gardening for years, thought of building a shed in his terrace garden in 2015 to protect him from excessive sunlight. During that time instead of the usual tin sheet, he decided to build a natural shed, for which he had to choose some creeper plants, so that the roof of his house would be a shed with vines. After researching several plants, he came to know about passion fruit.
Chetan says, “After research it was found that this fruit is grown more in countries like Australia and Africa. The temperature of these countries is no different from ours, so I was sure that it can be grown comfortably in our country as well. With this thought in mind, I bought passion fruit seeds from Amazon and started growing it.”
Passion fruit plants grow on vines just like grapes and do well in comfortably warm environments. Gradually, Chetan came to know many more benefits of this healthy fruit. Chetan explains that due to the shedding of passion fruit, the temperature of the roof naturally decreased. Along with this, its leaves also act as a dust filter and absorb the dust etc. of the atmosphere. Apart from this, they are also very good sources of oxygen.
But apart from all this, the best thing they liked about it was that many types of butterflies and bees started coming on the flower of passion fruit.
How did beekeeping start?
Chetan says, “Generally in India, all fruit trees flower in summer and winter, while the passion fruit flower Krishna Kamal comes in monsoon. This gives them a chance to do their work even in monsoon and helps in pollination.” With the arrival of bees and butterflies in the garden, natural pollination in their garden became very good. After which he also tried his hand in beekeeping.
Before a coconut tree planted in Chetan’s garden, there was very little fruit, while the production of many fruits, including coconut, increased due to beekeeping in the garden. He approached an organization ‘Under the Mango Tree Society’ in Mumbai with the idea of doing Urban Bee Keeping. In the year 2017, he installed the first Bee Box in his house and started beekeeping. He is of Indian race Apis cerana kept a box of
Although initially the Under the Mango Tree Society was not allowing them to do beekeeping in the city. Because earlier also in many gardens of the city, he had made such efforts, which were not successful. But he liked Chetan’s passion fruit model so much that he finally agreed to give him a B box.
Beekeeper farmers of Gujarat started growing passion fruit
In 2018, Under the Mango Tree Society with Chetan’s model started growing passion fruit as a pilot project in Tutarkhed, a village in Valsad district of South Gujarat. He contacted different horticulture societies of the country to get passion fruit plants.
Chetan says, “I give information related to passion fruit in this project, while the organization helps for Bee Keeping. We started our first project before Corona and now we are helping five more farmers of Gujarat to grow passion fruit.”
Since passion fruit is not very popular in our country, only Chetan buys passion fruit from farmers. At the same time, the organization helps in selling honey to the farmers.
Chetan says that although this fruit is not very popular, but it has many benefits. Passion fruit is rich in vitamins A and C, which are very important antioxidants. The best part is that these plants help in increasing the number of bees and natural pollination. With which a good eco-system can be created in any garden or farm.
The farmers of the village have also got a new source of income from the production of passion fruit. In the coming time, Chetan, in association with ‘Under the Mango Tree Society’, is preparing to launch this model in many more villages as well.
Chetan also keeps sharing information related to beekeeping and passion fruit among people through his social media account. You can contact Chetan here to know more about this project.
Editing – Archana Dubey
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