Monday, February 16, 2009

Upper Shimla Area- Kotkhai-jubal-rohru

Himachal Pradesh is called the Apple state of the country and is alsoknown as the fruit bowl of the nation.Apple is the main fruit crop ofHimachal Pradesh and is grown in nine out of the twelve districts.Itcontributes to 40 percent of the fruit growing areas in H.P. Kinnaurand Shimla are the main apple producing districts of H.P.The normalproduction of apples ranges from 17 million to 20 million boxes in thestate.Though the apple season proper is yet to begin,but some of the earlyvarieties such as ‘Red Gold’, ‘Summer Green’ and ‘Red June’ from Jubbal,Rohru,Kotkhai and Chopal areas in Shimla district have reached the markets.
Analysis of the marketing of apples in Himachal Pradesh, India, shows thatdespite the price support for apples announced since 1981, the marketingsystem is riddled with myriad problems. Farmers had marketing margins of41% in 1984-85 and 42% in 1995-96. It is suggested that multiprongedstrategies should be explored for the future development of horticulturalcrops in the state in order to achieve better returns for the growers.
The growing importance of the Apple Industry is bringing about a revolutionin the state. Himachal Pradesh is now one of those states of the country whichis quickly transforming itself from the most backward state to an advanced one.

Infrastructure Upgradation:

SHIMLA:In a bid to woo the influential lobby of apple growers in the upper Shimla area, Chief Minister Prem KumarDhumal announced massive infrastructural upgrading plans for the region over the weekend. He launched an ambitious Rs.228-crore road widening project from Theog, the entrance to the rich apple-growing beltwhich ends at Rohru, the constituency of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. This road, from where thousands of fruit-laden trucks pass every year, was grossly neglected by the previous government.
The ambitious project is being funded by the World Bank and executed by Longjivan Road and Bridge Limited Company of China to further improve the road width to nine metres in rural areas and 9.4 metres in the typical urban sections.
“This would match any international standards,” said Mr. Dhumal. He also laid the foundation stones for various lift irrigation schemes, parking lots, regional horticulture offices, horticulture office-cum-farmers’ training centre-cum-hostels and soil testing and leaf testing laboratories worth crores of rupees in the apple-growing region of Kotkhai and Jubbal.
The Chief Minister also announced plans to upgrade a number of health and educational institutions and said that Rs.10 crore would be spent on construction of a processing plant in the area so that value-added apple products were carried across for the benefit of the fruit growers.
He allocated more funds for projects in the Jubbal-Kotkhai area during the current financial year and said 95 new habitations would be provided adequate drinking water while more roads would be constructed in the segment. Jubbal-Kotkhai sends the lone BJP MLA from upper Shimla district, Narender Bragta, who is also the Horticulture Minister of the State.

Greenhousing in Himachal Pradesh

Rs 154 Cr Nabard loan to Himachal for Poly-houses
The Nabard assistance would be utilised to construct 16,500 polythene-covered greenhouses in Himachal Pradesh in four years.The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has sanctioned Rs 154 crore (US $32.7 million) to the hilly Indian state Himachal Pradesh for constructing 16,500 polythene-covered greenhouses in four years.
Announcung this, the Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the state government had submitted a proposal to the bank to construct poly-houses in the state to motivate farmers to cultivate cash crops.He said 14.7 million square metre of agricultural land would be brought under the precision farming practice by constructing poly-houses, where off-season vegetables and other cash crops could be cultivated.The project would generate direct employment for 4,000 rural artisans and 6,000 self-employment avenues to the educated rural youth.“The poly-houses would enable vegetable cultivation even in extreme climatic conditions,” the Chief Minister said.
Authorities in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district are popularising polyhouse cultivation among the farmers to promote off-season farming.Experts observe that polyhouse cultivation in the lower hills of the state can bring an end to the cultivation woes of the farmers in the region where crop cultivation drops drastically during the winter season.
Farmers claim that this method of farming has increased the productivity and said that they are reaping benefits almost six times more than what they reap through conventional farming.They also observe that growing crops in greenhouses produces better quality crops that fetch them more money.
“When we grow flowers in the green houses the quality is good when compared with the ones grown outdoors. There is an improvement in the quality and the size of the produce. We are benefiting from its cultivation,” said Pooja, a woman farmer from Mohal in Kullu.

When polyhouse farming was first introduced in 2003-04, farmers were skeptical and reluctant to take to this farming technique.Later while some farmers took it through advertisements in newspapers thers saw polyhouses in some other states.

“I got the idea of polyhouse when I visited the Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh where I saw theses polyhouses. After that I though that the little land that I have I should utilize it fully by erecting a polyhouse and do some cultivation,” said Kedar Nath, a farmer from Shamshi village in Kullu.
The farmers have been growing exotic vegetables as well as flowers in poly houses. The State Government has planned to install 20,000 more such poly houses.


The Himachal Pradesh government is planning to install hail control systems, comprising 40 anti-hail guns with four radar systems, to shield crops from the vagaries of weather in the state. Frequent bad weather damaging a huge crop produce every year has prompted the government to install the system.
A grant of Rs.270 million has been sought from the central government for setting up a hail control system in the fruit-growing belt of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and Chamba districts, according to official sources.
Going by figures of the state horticulture department, of about 64,000 tonnes apples produced last year, over 9,000 tonnes were lost due to hailstones. The loss was estimated at Rs.205 million.An estimated 35 percent fruit produce of the state, about 22,450 tonnes, also was lost due to hailstorms, causing a loss of over Rs.250 million.This year the total crop worth more than Rs.1 billion was destroyed.
Even the total yield of apple this year will be about four million boxes less than last year’s record production of 29.2 million boxes.Concerned over the annual losses, the government is planning to set up four hail control systems, comprising 40 anti-hail guns with four radar systems, for covering 4,000 hectare fruit/vegetable growing area of the state.

These guns send shock waves into the pressure area where hail clouds are formed and they puncture the clouds and bring down harmless rains instead of the damaging hails.

A single gun can cover over 300 hectares of area. These guns are eco-friendly as the gases released from the guns are not greenhouse gases.