Shopian: Apple growers in Kashmir are delighted with the season’s first harvest – of Jeromine and King Roat high-density apple varieties. Both these, according to apple growers, have been sold for a thousand rupees per 10 kilogram box, which is double the rate compared to Kashmir’s traditional ‘Delicious’ varieties.
In Kashmir, high-density apple varieties are currently being grown on about 7,000 kanals of land. Most of these high-density trees were planted after replacing the old traditional apple trees.
Nazar ul Islam, a grower from Alyalpora area of Shopian town, told Kashmir Reader that he sold a 10 kilogram box of King Roat apple variety at Rs 1,050 on his doorstep.
“It did not cost any charge on transportation or taxes. We feel that growing different varieties throughout the year is the lone option left for the orchardists if they want to survive in this sector,” he said, adding that the new varieties give growers sufficient time to grow, pick, pack and sell their produce at different intervals.
Gowhar Ahmad, a bank employee from Shopian, said that with the introduction of high-density apples, people who have taken loans under Kisan Credit Card (KCC) are now able to pay their loan interest as well as the whole amount before the due date.
“This is helping reduce the burden on them of extra bank charges,” he said.
Though the Jeromine and King Roat varieties are no match for the taste of traditional varieties like Delicious and Kulu Delicious, but their full red colour is more attractive, growers and traders say.
Horticulture experts say that the harvest of these varieties at this stage of the season is responsible for the good rates, as less quantity of apple is reaching the market and pushing the prices up.
Besides the good rates, the high-density apple trees also require less efforts from growers as they are smaller in size and sprays reach every portion of the tree.
The harvesting and sale of Jeromine and Jing Roat apples in Kashmir has almost ended, but farmers are happy with the good returns that they have fetched.