Govt set to launch ambitious apple project
Uniyal said farmers would be provided planting material and facilities to export apples other than providing technological help. Quality apples would be grown so that their export fetch foreign exchange to apple growers . Apart from apples, fruit growers would also be encouraged to grow other fruits such as pear, peach, plum and apricot.dehradun Updated: Sep 02, 2017 20:43 IST
DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government is set to launch an ambitious centrally funded Rs 250 crore project that aims to develop the hill state as a major apple growing hub.
It would help double income of the local fruit growers and check forced migration from the hills, agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal said.
“We are going to develop the state into one of the world’s major apple growing centres, a la neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. The initiative will also help double the farmers’ income and check their forced migration from the hills,” Uniyal told Hindustan Times on Saturday. “The project area is being implemented under the Central government’s ambitious project the Apple Mission.”
Under the project, hill farmers would be encouraged to grow apples in some 1,000 acre of farm land.“The scheme will be implemented under the apple and temperate fruit project. As part of that initiative, farmers will be provided all kinds of help to grow high density, early fruiting varieties of quality apples on their farmlands,” the minister said, adding the sole aim was to enhance income and establish farmers as entrepreneurs.
Uttarkashi, Chakrata and Chamoli are the major apple producing centres in Uttarakhand. The state produces around 80,000 metric tonnes of apple on average annually.
Uniyal said farmers would be provided planting material and facilities to export apples other than providing technological help. Quality apples would be grown so that their export fetch foreign exchange to apple growers . Apart from apples, fruit growers would also be encouraged to grow other fruits such as pear, peach, plum and apricot. They would grow apples on 90% of their farmland while the rest would be spared for the other fruits grown in the hills.
“Apple saplings will be planted in an area ranging from 1,500 m up to 2,300 m. Other fruits (such as walnut, plum, peach, cherry, pears and grapes) will be planted in lower altitudes,” he said.
Giving further details, the minister said of the area set aside for fruit saplings, farmers in the first year would plant saplings of high density apples in 100 acre area. “In the second and third year, saplings of (high density) apples will be grown in 300 acre and 600 acre respectively. Saplings of other fruits will be grown in a separate 100 acre area.”
Farmers would plant 1,000 apple saplings in a cluster comprising one acre area of land. “Growing apples in one cluster will cost us (govt) Rs 15-17 lakh,” Uniyal said, adding likewise several clusters would be developed under the project.
Early fruiting varieties of apples would be grown under the ambitious project. “One tree of such varieties of apple will start bearing fruit within a year and. It will give a total yield of 20 kg in its sixth year,” Uniyal said, adding 1,000 apple trees would generate a whopping yield of 20, 000 kg of fruit annually.
Besides exporting apples and other fruits ,the horticulture produce would also be used as raw material for agro -based industrial units. “We plan to set up a series of such units, which will also generate employment for the local youth,” Uniyal told Hindustan Times.