Bihar to grow apples in 7 districts on a trial basis, project launch on Jan 19

Bihar wil offer a subsidy of up to 1.23 lakh per hectare for the apple plantation to farmers in seven districts, nearly half the estimated cost of 2.46 lakh
Ranjit Kumar Singh of Vaishali shows the HRMN-99 variety of apples in his farm in the Bihar
Ranjit Kumar Singh of Vaishali shows the HRMN-99 variety of apples in his farm in the Bihar
Published on Jan 15, 2022 10:59 AM IST
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PATNA: Inspired by the success of some farmers to grow apples, Bihar’s horticulture department has decided to launch a pilot project to grow the fruit in seven districts of the state.

Horticulture director Nand Kishore said that seven districts including Vaishali, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Aurangabad, Samastipur, Katihar and Muzaffarpur have been identified to launch the pilot project to grow HRMN-99 variety of apple, which is fit for cultivation in sub-tropical and low altitude plains.

“We have arranged a sufficient number of the plants of HRMN-99 variety at the state’s centre of excellence nursery of Vaishali from the National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, to launch the pilot project on January 19. To begin with, the plantation would be done on 10 hectares in all the districts after formal training to the farmers,” said Kishore.

One Ranjit Kumar Singh of Vaishali planted a few saplings of HRMN-99 apple, which he brought from Himachal Pradesh three years ago, along with his other friends of Begusarai, Bhagalpur and Aurangabad districts.

“The saplings planted by Ranjit Kumar in Vaishali have borne fruits, which would be ready for plucking by May-June,” said deputy director, horticulture, Rakesh Kumar, adding that plants in other districts too are in different stages of fruiting.

A plant scientist of Rajendra Prasad Agriculture University (RAU) in Samastipur said that a molecular study had been performed for the characterization of HRMN-99 apple in comparison with check varieties by Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission, Gandhinagar.

“The study confirms its diversity and superiority over other low chilling varieties Anna and Dorsett golden,” the scientist said, adding that this variety of apple could be grown even at 40deg C.

The state government has also decided to offer a subsidy of up to 1.23 lakh per hectare for the apple plantation to the farmers, nearly half the estimated cost of 2.46 lakh. The pilot project envisages imparting training to at least five farmers in each district before offering them the saplings to grow. The directorate will also cultivate apples on 0.2 hectare of land at Vaishali’s centre of excellence for training and demonstration purposes.

The HRMN-99 variety of apple was developed by farmer Hariman Sharma from Bilaspur district in Himachal Pradesh. Sharma.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Subhash Pathak is special correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of experience in journalism, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure of Bihar and Jharkhand.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022