Shimla: The current apple crop in Himachal Pradesh is likely to register record production as it has been estimated to cross six lakh tonnes compared to corresponding 2.80 lakh tonnes last year, a top functionary of horticulture department revealed here today.
According to state horticulture director Gurudev Singh, “Owing to ideal weather conditions and optimum level of moisture content during the current apple season, the crop is likely to touch record six lakh tonnes production in the state.” Singh reasoned that during the last apple season, dry and rough weather affected apple production, which had reduced production to 2.80 lakh tonnes as compared to normal production of 3.50 to 4 lakh tonnes.
According to met office director Manmohan Singh, all districts in the state have registered ample rainfall in the month of June as prominent apple cultivating district like Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Mandi have recorded ideal rainfall, enough to keep intact soil moisture content for apple-laden trees.
Vice-chancellor of Manav Bharati Horticulture University, Solan, SP Bhardwaj said that apple crop required 1,100 to 1,500 chilling hours in the winter season. He said that three to four spells of snowfall have already completed the quota of coldness, which is essential to kill germs and pathogens in the soil.
Currently, early varieties of apple like Red Gold, Red June, Red Summer and Red Reach are available in the market. Himachal Pradesh contributes 85 per cent to apple crop in the country having 2.6 lakh hectares under apple plantation followed by J&K and Uttarakhand.
The apple season commences in the end of June and lasts till end of October. China is the leader in apple production with 43 per cent global crop, followed by USA with six per cent share, while India is at the seventh position.