As everybody knows that apple cultivation requires cold climate with average summer temperatures of around 21-24 degrees Celsius during active growth period, the scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Haridwar (KVK) of G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, have come out with a different approach. They recently announced to grow apples in the plains of Haridwar district where the mercury normally reaches up to 40 degrees Celsius in summer.
The apple cultivation in the hills requires 1,000 to 1,200 winter-chill hours of temperatures below 7 degree Celsius. However, some apple varieties such as Anna need only 200 to 300 winter-chill hours to blossom. Vinod Kumar, associate director of KVK said that the climate from December to January in Haridwar is suitable for development of fruit in Anna variety and the other two varieties. So, this project of apple cultivation in warm place is being made possible even in Haridwar. This may give a new business opportunity to farmers in Haridwar district. In this project, KVK will plant a row of apple saplings alongside a row of guava trees. The guava plants would protect the apple plants from the intense sunlight in the plains. If apple trees will plant between two rows of any fruit trees such as litchi, pear, etc the apple plants will survive & start bearing fruit.
According to KVK, 15,000 hectares of land is under various orchards of mango, guava and other fruits in the district, cultivation of apple could provide a new business opportunity to farmers, but there is a need for further research.
KVK planted around 30 saplings of three different varieties of apple in 2014 and now these trees have started bearing fruit. The trees are of Anna, Dorsett Golden and Michael Schlomit varieties. The saplings had been procured from the horticulture university at Solan in Himachal Pradesh on experimental basis.
KVK officials said that they would be undertaking more research so that apple farming can be taken up in a big way in the district in future. “Now that we have made apple growing possible in relatively higher temperature areas, we will work on commercial cultivation of this fruit,” said Purushottam Kumar, in-charge of KVK.