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India: Himachal`s apple production to fall by 33% this year

The Himachal Pradesh government is expecting almost 33 per cent fall in apple production this year, compared to last year`s output as unfavourable weather condition is affecting the production of the fruit. `This year we are not anticipating bumper crop as we achieved last year in view of unfavourable weather conditions existed this year,` state government Principal Secretary (Agriculture) P C Kapoor said here.

The state government is hoping apple output of about 4 lakh Metric Tons this year as against the total apple production of 5.94 lakh MT last year, he said. In 2006, the state achieved apple output of 2.5 lakh MT.

Kapoor explained that during the flowering of the crop, temperature came down abruptly in the month of April. `Because of the cold conditions, pollination done by insects such as bee was deactivated which adversely impacted the flowering of the crop,` he said who was here to participate in a programme organised by CII.

The state government would be importing new rootstocks worth Rs 3 to 5 crore from the US this year as part of its strategy to replace the old apple orchards. `Our apple orchards are now 30 to 40 years old which need replacement with better and improved variety of rootstocks so as to achieve higher output. That is why we launched an exercise in a phased manner in 2002 whereby we started importing rootstocks from the US,` he said.

Last year the state government imported root stocks worth Rs 2.5 crore. Himachal Pradesh is one of biggest producers of apple in the country. Apple crop is mainly produced in Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Solan districts of Himachal Pradesh.

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