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Farmers take baby steps in Karnataka’s apple revolution

Special Correspondent
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Himachal’s horticulturist introduces the crop in the State

Eye for apple:Chiranjit Parmar, a horticultural scientist in Himachal Pradesh, at an apple orchard at Batu in Jawa Island of Indonesia.
Eye for apple:Chiranjit Parmar, a horticultural scientist in Himachal Pradesh, at an apple orchard at Batu in Jawa Island of Indonesia.

When an apple tree bore fruits in the farm of Ananthaiah in Shringeri, the grower was among those who took baby steps in the “near-revolution” in the cultivation of the fruit. Ananthaiah had three persons to thank, including two persons from this region for showing a new way for growers like him.

The first of them was Chiranjit Parmar, a Mandi-based horticultural scientist in Himachal Pradesh, who revealed that the fruit, though traditionally grown in temperate regions, could also be cultivated in Karnataka where the temperatures do not fall below 10 degrees Celsius. It struck to Mr. Parmar when he visited a place called Batu in the Jawa island of Indonesia along the equator. The Indonesians get two crops in a year and their average yield is about 65 tonnes per hectare compared to six tonnes to seven tonnes per hectare in Himachal Pradesh.

Mr. Pramar visualised that “a near revolution in apple cultivation” may be possible in Karnataka.

The second person the Shringeri farmer could thank was Shree Padre, Executive Editor, Kannada agricultural magazine, who publicised this in Adike Patrike. Third person who helped them was a former banker Krishna Shetty from Mangalore.

Mr. Parmar said in a note on a forthcoming event that he sent 300 apple saplings to farmers in Karnataka from Bajaura, Kullu in January 2011 which were planted in 18 different locations in the southern State.

“The plants progressed well, grew incessantly and did not shed leaves during December-January when apple trees become leafless. This was a positive indication. The word spread and many more people evinced interest. So 600 more saplings were sent and planted in January, 2012,” he said in the note, informing that an interaction programme on the ‘scope for apple cultivation in Karnataka’ will be conducted at Sharada Vidyalaya, Kodialbail in Mangalore, on April 20 at 10 a.m.

The release added that the progress so far gave “a very strong indication that there exists a possibility of extending apple cultivation on lines of Indonesia, to those areas of South India where December-January temperature does not fall below 10-12 degrees C. This, however, is the beginning and the idea needs further testing on a larger scale, Mr. Parmar said.

A meet on ‘scope for apple cultivation in Karnataka’ at Sharada Vidyalaya

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