Buoyed by apple cultivation trials, farmers now seek govt help

Buoyed by apple cultivation trials, farmers now seek govt help

Farmers in Puttur, Somwarpet, Tumkur, Sringeri and Bangalore have succeeded in getting yield

Buoyed by apple cultivation trials, farmers now seek govt help

Emboldened by the experiment of cultivating apple in Karnataka, farmers and enthusiasts are now seeking government aid in taking forward the cultivation of the fruit in a systematic and scientific manner.

Speaking on 'Apple cultivation experiments in Karnataka, future possibilities,' Senior horticultural scientist from Himachal Pradesh, Dr Chiranjit Parmar underlined the need for government help in furthering the possibilities of research in cultivating apple on a commercial basis.

"Agricultural Universities and Indian Council for Agricultural Research can also contribute their mite which may herald a revolution in apple cultivation in Karnataka," he said at the informal interaction of budding apple cultivating farmers and enthusiasts here on Saturday.

It was Parmar's encounter with the apple orchards in Batu in Indonesia five years ago that triggered the thought that the fruit could be grown in tropical region of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu which has the similar climate as that of Batu. Subsequently, the saplings from Himachal pradesh were supplied to the farmers in Karnataka and after a couple of years, the experiment has been proven successful.

"Though we couldn't spell the success rate for lack of complete feedback from the farmers, fruits have been borne in Puttur, Somwarpet, Tumkur, Sringeri and Bangalore. This paves the way for further research and experiment," he stressed.

Krishna shetty, who has been in the forefront of apple cultivation said that out of the 50 saplings he planted last year in his nursery at Hirebandady near Puttur, 45 have survived. Gangadara Murthy of Tumkur has planted 13 saplings three years ago and of them, a plant bore fruit in April last year. This year one plant of Murthy has yielded 9 apples, now. A woman from Somwarpet, C D'Souza has informed that in her farm a sapling has bore two apples.

In Bangalore, Nagananda has his sapling borne fruit grown in a container on rooftop.
But there are disappointments too. Several farmers who planted the saplings three or more years back were not lucky to see their plant at least flowering once.
Anil Balanjal, a young farmer from Belthangady has started growing apple saplings three years ago and he planted six more later on. The oldest one of Anil's farm has grown up to 11 feet tall but still did not flower.

Shree Padre, the Executive Editor of the farm monthly, Adike Pathrike said that no precise time frame has been fixed for the plant to bear fruit. "Some plants have bore fruits after one year, some after two years and so on. Only further research can throw light on that aspect," he said.

Karnataka experience

Parmar asserted that keeping the temperature not lower than 12 degree Celsius and ensuring that the tree is not shedding leaves after the month of October is pertinent. "As there is no winter in Karnataka, there is no dormancy of the tree and hence no chilling is required. It was noted that the growth is more rapid in plain areas than hills," he explained. The horticultural scientist has a word of advice for farmers that fungus disease and attack of local insects or pests are more likely in Karnataka due to the favourable growing conditions.

Parmar added that in future it would be good if plant blocks each having a minimum 50 trees should be grown and tend them just like common orchard.

 "Keeping the tree dwarf by means of applying techniques like bending of branches can also be done," he said.

Krishna Shetty has been selling the apple saplings at his nursery in Hirebandady and the interested ones can approach him (mobile no 9448484198).

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