Monday, 21 May 2012

Apple - Fruit

By: Barbjit Singh Reen
Apple is the important temperate fruit of India and India produces about three percent of the total production of the World. Eighty four countries are producing Apple and India stands eighth in apple production and in productivity its place is 53rd in the World. Belgium, Holland and Denmark have productivity more than 40 tonnes per hectare where as our productivity is usually between 6-8 tonnes per hectare.
In India Jammu and Kashmir state is at the top both in production of apple and its productivity (10.1 tonnes/ ha). Other states in India has productivity below 5 tonnes/ ha. (Arunachal Pradesh 2.39 tonnes/ ha, Himachal Pradesh 4.30 tonnes /ha)
In Jammu and Kashmir apple is mostly grown in Kashmir division where productivity in 2008-09 was 10.91 tonnes/ ha and Jammu region has productivity of 1.40 tonnes / ha. Its productivity in 1974-75 was 4.2 tons per hectare and reached to 9.51 tons per hectare in 1992-93 and from then to 2007-08, it is still between 9-11 tons per hectare. But in comparison to countries like Belgium, Holland and Denmark where productivity is more than 40 tons per hectare our achievements are good but still has got great scope for improvement..
Baramulla district has shown some good performance and its productivity in the current year was between 19-20 tons. It gives us the hope that productivity 20 tons per hectare is achievable with the existing orchard system. As most of orchards in Baramulla District has reached their peak production lavels or have crossed their non bearing stage so productivity is high there but in other districts like kupwara, Bandypora plantations are still young so we hope the productivity will increase as the time passes when these plantations will become young enough to produce excellent crop. Total area under apple in Kashmir division is 120542(2009) hectares. It is not possible replace these orchards with high density orchards in single year but our next step should be to replace old and senile orchards with high density plants where ever possible. As the high density orchards have shallow root system and are unable to withstand the rain fed conditions. Creation of assured irrigation system in Apple growing belts of Kashmir will take some more time. These above mentioned problems should be tackled in long term planning but our immediate short term plan achievable in next five years should tackle problems like lesser fruit set, creating awareness among orchardists regarding spray schedules, pests and diseases and their management and awakening consumers about the established benefits of Apple products over carbonated Beverages. If achieved this plan should definitely double our production with in 5 years.
. Causes of low productivity.
• Apple flowers have both male and female parts but yet most of the apple varieties are self unfruitful and require pollen of some other variety to get fertilised and set good crop. Flowering period of both the varieties should overlap only then this pollination is possible. For successful pollination in Apple 33% pollinizers (Other variety trees which produce good pollen) are required. But most of the orchards in valley have pollinizers percentage less than 10%.
• Population of Honey bees have declined due to excess use of pesticides at bloom stage. Wind plays very little role in apple pollination because of the sticky nature of Apple pollens.
• The less population of both pollinators and pollinizers are mainly responsible for poor fruit set in apple crop.
• Poor training and pruning of trees also contributes to low fruit set and poor quality fruit.
• Red delicious is the major variety in Kashmir and contributes 60% of the production and is alternate bearing in nature which contributes to low productivity in off years
• Orchards which are grown in paddy lands are usually affected diseases like Root rot and Collar rot.
• Canker treatment and its awareness among people should be at our top priority .
• Spring frost and chilling atmosphere at flowering time is dangerous for fruit set.
• Compatible fungicides with insecticides are now mentioned in Horticulture Departments spray schedule we should try hard to popularize it..
• Control of scab and other fungal foliar diseases increases the cost of production of apple which most of the times unaffordable to the poor farmers
• The extent of loss is reported to be about 14% of the total apple production in India which amounts to 182000 tonnes and 100 crores in terms of money, for want of suitable infrastructure.

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