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Apple from Punjab set to enter market

May 20, 2018 05:58 AM


Apple from Punjab set to enter market


Before the fresh crop of apples from the Kashmir Valley and Himachal Pradesh hits the markets, consumers may get to taste the stone fruit from Punjab soon. Harvest of Anna and Dorsett, varieties of apple that require low chilling hours, will begin—a first for Punjab—by two progressive farmers Harman Singh Randhawa and Gurinder Singh Bajwa in Chohal village of Hoshiarpur district.

They had planted around 240 apple saplings in 2011 on two acres at Chohal, which borders Himachal Pradesh. After seven years of evolving techniques to grow apples in the plains of Punjab under harsh climatic conditions, both are hopeful of achieving commercial success in the sale of apples.

“We are waiting for the rainfall before we begin picking apples,” Randhawa (48) told TOI on Saturday. He said they expect a good crop and a favourable market response.

IN PLAINS NOW: Apples grown in Chohal village of Hoshiarpur

‘PAU must promote apple growing in Pb’

With an experience of seven-eight years in growing apples in the warmer climate as compared to the higher reaches and cool climes of Kashmir and Himachal, Randhawa said they wanted that Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, should encourage and promote apple growing industry in the state, which could give a profitable alternative to wheat and paddy to farmers.

“We have done something, which the government should have done. I had donated five-six apple saplings to PAU as till last year its scientists had been visiting our orchard. We want PAU take over the apple growing project from here and take benefit of our experience,” said Randhawa.

He informed that they didn’t face any major problem except dry weather in the past three years which resulted in smaller size of the fruit. He said they had been spending around Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 per acre per year on their apple orchard and expected to harvest around 50-60 boxes of 20kg each per acre, taking the yield to 1,000-1200 kg.

Randhawa said going by an average rate of Rs 70-80 per kg, they should be able to sell each box for Rs 1,000-1,200. “It should give us an average return of Rs 70,000-Rs 80,000 per acre. However, the commercial viability will be known from next year onwards,” he said.

He said that the varieties grown by them had immense juice and a tangy taste. Giving details about the returns from apple orchard, Harman said about 230-250 saplings can be planted in rows per acre. "Distance between each plant is eight feet and the rows are 20 feet apart," he said.

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