Ghaus Siwani/New Delhi
Apples grown in Kashmir and the Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh are famous all over the country because of their unique taste.
However, the monopoly of these cold regions over apples has ended as apple cultivation has started all over India. Seeing apple orchards in Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Jammu, Karnataka and Telangana etc., people can't believe that the fruit that can keep them away from doctors can be easily cultivated in virtually any part of India.
Recently some varieties of apples have been developed that can thrive in warmer climates. Agricultural scientists have been instrumental in developing these. However, a farmer in Himachal Pradesh has also developed a new variety of apple that does not require cold weather.
Hariman Sharma with his apple crop
The farmer's name is Hariman Sharma and this new variety of apple is named HRMN-99.
Hariman hails from Blaspur district and he was raised as an orphan by his uncle. Today, he has bought cheers and income to thousads of farmers all over the country as they are able to grow apples and add to their income.
He has received formal educated only up to 10th standard. He was awarded by President Pranab Mukherjee for his invention of the new apple variety. This variety of apple has spread to various plains and lowlands of India, where the temperature reaches f40-45 degrees Celcius in summer.
Sharma’s apple variety is being cultivated across 23 states and Union Territories, including Manipur, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
Vinod Jat from Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, proudly shows his crop
In, Bihar, the growers have taken to apple in a big way in Begusarai district. Amit Kumar from Beguserai told Awaz-the voice that he chose Harima Sharma’s variety. His crop is one year old. His plants will also start bearing fruit after a year.
Amit says that if the apple yield on his two bigha land is good he can earn 14-15 lakh rupees per annum. Bihar government is also helping him in the cultivation of apples by supplying him and others saplings at no cost.
Dr. Sim Ali Rizvi, a farmer from Manjhagarh area of Gopalganj said he has been selected for assistance in apple cultivation by the government.
Apples are also being cultivated in Rajasthan. Vinod Jat, a farmer from Chittorgarh, has successfully cultivated apples in a hot state like Rajasthan. Vinod Jat planted 150 apple trees on his land, which are now yielding crops.
Gantaka Krishna Reddy from Karnataka showing off his apple crop
He is growing 99 Hariman apples. District Collector Tarachand Meena Vinod has praised the efforts of Apple Farm Akran. Apple cultivation has started in different districts of Rajasthan including Bhilwara, Mewar, Banswara, Mount Abu, Barmer that have rocky and sandy areas.
Narendra Chauhan has done the same in Karnal, Haryana. Chauhan, who runs a dhaba on GT Road in Karnal, loves to cultivate apples. He has been supplying apples from his orchards to many markets.
Narendra Chauhan says that the taste, sweetness and crunch of apples grown in the plains and hot temperature is similar to the apples of Himachal and Kashmir though in appearance these look a tad dull.
Yogesh Choudhary of Hathras in his apple orchard
Apple cultivation is also going in quite well in Uttar Pradesh. Yogesh Chaudhary from Hathras is cultivating apples. Yogesh picked his saplings from Shimla and other places in Himachal Pradesh and also received training in apple cultivation.
His father's support boosted his moral. He planted 50 plants at a distance of 10 feet in an acre of land. Apart from Hathras, apple cultivation has alao picked up in Pilbhit, Banaras, Basti etc.
Sanjay Naharkar of Narain village near Pune used to cultivate sugarcane. Recently, he switched to apples. His income from apples was much higher than what he was getting from the sugarcane.
Apple cultivation has also started in other parts of Maharashtra. Similarly, in Karnataka and Telangana, the farmers have taken to the apple crop in a major way.