Shimla, Sep 19 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Apple has completed Sesquicentennial Jubilee last year currently facing a tough challenge as the growers no longer consider it’s cultivation cash crop.
Rs 5000 Cr plus Economy is more volatile than share market and some of the farmers equate this with Gambling.
The unchecked and constant inflation phenomenon under the present order not only increased the cost of production but uncertainty in the Market, dominance of middleman and increasing monopoly of corporate to crash market artificially are posing new burning issues threatening the livelihood of around four lakh households and around three lakhs farm skilled workers engaged in it.
Himachal Pradesh Government claimed that around 3.49 Cr(616885 metric tonnes ) Apple boxes are likely to be produced this year.
In mid season as many as 1.90 Cr Apple boxes are already sold in the market as on Sep 17, 2021. In terms of metric tonnes it is around 344730 mt whereas under HPMC(Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce and Marketing Corporation) and HIMFED(Himachal Pradesh Marketing and Consumer Federation) has precured about 37000 metric tonnes of ungraded apple in the season.
Currently, a 20 kg carton of A-grade Apple is fetching price of Rs 2100 to Rs 2300 whereas B -grade at Rs 1400 to 1600 in the local market. 90 per cent crops are being sold in the domestic market.
State recorded around 407000 mt apple production in the Financial year 2020-21, 715250 mt in 2019-20 and 368600 mt in 2018-19.
The journey of Apple started from Bajoura of Kullu district when a British Captain AA Lee set up the first Apple orchards in the state in 1870.
The credit goes to an American Christian missionary Mr. Evan Samuel Stokes, to further popularise it in Kotgarh area of Shimla district as in 1916, he introduced delicious varieties like Royal Delicious, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious still in production in major chunk of state apple orchards.
In the last 150 yrs Kullu district recorded migration of apple crops from Bajoura to high elevation. District cultivars first brought by the British include Baronies Rich, A Red, Mackintosh and Ambari etc.
Agriculture experts said that apples grown from the exotic cultivars of Kullu were more sweet but also had a pungent taste compared to Royal Delicious, Red Delicious from Brothers Nursery of Mr. Stokes (USA) who later came up with varieties of Golden Delicious apples.
People were not in favor of growing apples initially as they were cultivating traditional millet and pulses crops however there were no commercial crops.
First Chief minister Dr Y S Parmar encouraged people of this hill state to plant trees as natives were not in favor of planting even an apple tree in the middle of their fields, as it made ploughing difficult for the farmers used for growing grains etc.
Most apple trees were grown through seedlings and transplanting, which took 7 to 12 years to come in gestation and bear fruit. The trees were also very large and only about 250 trees could be planted in an acre of organic apple gardening. Apple horticulture was initially being done organically.