Apple revolution comes down to lower hills of Himachal


By: Kishori Lal

Mandi (Aug 11): What teams of horticulture scientists have failed to do after decades of research involving huge expenditure, has been done single-handedly by an ordinary farmer with an extraordinary zeal. He has been able to grow an apple plant which grows and flourishes in the lower areas of Himachal Pradesh, not necessarily requiring any snowfall.

A bare matriculate, Hari Man Sharma has ushered in a revolution wherein he has shown the way for others to grow apples in lower areas where so far only plums and wild peaches grew. Today, his village, Paniala, in Ghumarwin sub-division of Bilaspur district, where temperatures can soar up to 45 degree Celsius in the summers, boasts of a well-planned apple orchard which is not just giving him financial returns, but also motivating others to tread the same path.

His decade-long efforts have borne fruits much to the surprise of horticulture experts across the country who had abandoned the idea of growing apples in the lower heights. The idea of growing apples in lower valleys struck Hari in 2000 when he saw an apple plant growing in his kitchen garden from seeds of consumed apples strewn there. He was astonished to see that after three years the plant started bearing fruits.

“I missed no time in multiplying this plant by grafting it on plum trees. His joy knew no bounds when his experiment clicked successfully. Subsequently he yielded a bumper crop. This inspired him to propagate plants on a large scale on crab brought from Kashmir,” the progressive farmer said.

The proud farmer has now over 100 full-grown plants in his small apple orchard. The first yield of the crop was three quintals of apples ready for marketing. It fetched high price because of its early arrival in the market. Har Man says it is the fastest growing apple plant in the country which starts bearing fruit after three years.

A down-to-earth person, Har Man, who ushered in a new era in the sphere of horticulture in the state by applying an ordinary technique of grafting, has not only disclosed the secret to one and all, but also distributed about 3,000 plants to
fellow fruit growers in six lower districts of the state namely, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Kangra, Chamba and Solan. His nursery has over 42,000 plants at present.

He strongly feels that farmers in the state can easily get out of the mire of poverty if they start raising apple orchards in the lower valleys. He is proud to reveal that many plants distributed by him have started bearing fruits.

The unique feature of the new variety of apples is that it ripens around June 10 along with mangoes and fetches very high price. No other variety of apples is there in the market at this point of time. During the past 4-5 years, many teams of horticulture experts, fruit growers and VIPs have visited his orchard and have lauded his efforts. His success story has transcended the boundaries of the state and experts from other states have also evinced keen interest in his new technique.

Dr Chiranjit Parmar, a noted horticulture scientist, who has launched a globally acclaimed website “fruitipedia” has all praises for Hari Man, a person equipped with no professional skills for his great contribution in the apple revolution. He did what the government failed to do despite spending crores of rupees at Bagthan Research Center, which had to be closed after ten years, said Dr Parmar.

Dr Parmar says the only drawback in the new variety developed by Hari Man is that its shelf life is short compared to the traditional apples grown in the high hills. “But ten to 12 days are sufficient to market the early variety of the new apple. The quality, taste, look and the size are good,” he asserts.

Hari Man has done all this without any financial assistance from government. It is now up to the horticulture department to encourage fruit growers of lower belts to adopt apple growing.

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  1. Dear All,
    It is agr8 news that an ordinary person with extraordinary zeal could achieve this extraordinary feat.Such persons must be encouraged so as all farmers can be benifitted.Pls.feel frree to contact me to explore the business opportunities in Mumbai.

  2. Brilliant! Not only did he work out how to grow apples successfully, but also he has generously shared his knowledge and given plants to others. A great man.

    I hope that the apples are grown organically, that would make it even better 🙂

  3. Indeed envoting begins, myself want to precure 100 apple plants to try it at 4500ft height at my village

  4. There are some facts about apples, and one of them is that it can grow any where but yields fruit only at certain temperate places.Farmers like Hari Man Sharma are the real innovator . There are some places in the wold like Israel and Java, where farmers are successfully harvesting apples. Israel has developed its two low chilling varieties ,ANNA and DORSET GOLDEN. if Mr Sharma selects some partiular Rootstock and few particular low chill variety, there is no doubt ,he may have red coloured apples with good self life. His real challenge is with the economic life of the tree and I would suggest that he must not use any chemical and should GO ORGANIC…….

  5. Ist of all solan and chamba are not lower district as per parameter chamba and solan are located on mid himlayas. But chamba and solan has lower area like my hometown shimla has.

  6. fanastatic. Sir we are looking for apple varieties to grow between 4500 – 6000 feet at Ooty hills. A attempt to help tea farmers who are helpless because of net income in Tea cultivation. Also other fruits to grow in this altitude. Some help and guidances please

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