SRINAGAR: After witnessing losses in the last few years due to multiple reasons, high density apple farming is bringing back smile on the faces of fruit growers as it is fetching handsome amounts in markets.
Growers said that new apple varieties were introduced in Kashmir after 2015, and the best thing about them is that the plants start bearing fruits just a year after their plantation and reach full production in the 4th or 5th year.
They said traditional apple trees start bearing fruits at least ten years after plantation and are harvested in November. This, at times, causes growers to sustain damages due to untimely snowfall but high density apples are harvested in August only.
Muhammad Ashraf, a grower from Pulwama who has a high-density orchard on 8 kanals said that he replaced traditional apple trees last year with high-density plants.
“We planted high density apples Red Galla last year and this year we sold them at Rs 5 lakh while for 15 years, traditional apples trees failed to give us 5 lakh,” he said.
Mohammad Ayoub another grower from Anantnag said that the yield of high density apple trees is at least five times more than traditional varieties with 80 percent less consumption of fertilizers and pesticides.
“In June last year, I spent around 2 lakhs to plant high density apples and this year I have already received more than half of the amount spent,” he said.
Ayoub said that high density apples are giving returns of investments to growers in just two years and even customers reach orchards to get produce.
Other growers said that currently there is very good demand for high density apples and farmers are receiving handsome amounts in return.
They said that high density apples are less prone to diseases and there are options available to protect them from hailstorm and other things, however, such things aren’t available for traditional varieties.
Horticulture experts said that high density apples are less prone to diseases and they need very little amount of fertilizer and pesticide spray, said Ansar ul Haq, a manger of one such company providing high density apples plants to people
These apple plants produce about 50 to 70 tonnes of fruit per hectare by the third year of plantation while traditional varieties just produce 10 to 15 tonnes, he said.
President Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU) Basheer Ahmad told there is better demand for high density apples currently and its production is increasing with each passing year as more and more plant such high density apples now—(KNO)