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Himachal makes schemes fertile for apple farming

Última modificación 30/03/2016 08:33

Business Standard. New Delhi, 27 March 2016

Climate change is impacting India’s agriculture in varied ways. It has, for instance, cast a shadow over traditional apple cultivation in Himachal Pradesh (HP). HP’s apple belt has been predominantly spread across the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba, Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti. These have seen a gradual increase in temperature over recent years, prompting the state to encourage shifting of farming to higher reaches, though this hasn’t met much success.

In the recent state Budget, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also handles finance, announced a programme for developing varieties which require less chilling and can survive in low altitude areas as well. And, allocated Rs 2 crore (20 million) for importing good quality root-stocks and pollinates. Around 500 acres will be brought under the new and improved varieties in the next few years. The state had earlier partnered New Zealand in a World Bank-funded project to boost production by importing rootstock from the island country. Himachal makes schemes fertile for apple farming.

According to the state’s economic survey, apple constitutes about 49 per cent of the area under fruit crops and about 85 per cent of all fruit production. It is estimated that 42 per cent of all orchards in the state are over 50 years old and need rejuvenation. The apple economy is estimated to be around Rs 3,600 crore (1 crore is ten million) and the average production is seven to eight tonnes a hectare. In Australia, New Zealand, America and European countries, it is 60 to 70 tonnes a hectare. The temperate climate of the region is primarily due to snow-covered Himalayan ranges and the high altitude, which helps meet the chilling requirement during the winter season. The harvest season is July to October.

Source: Agriculture Today, AgriNews, <sanjay.km15@gmail.com>

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