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15 October, 2014



I asked the following question from Himachal apple growers on Facebook.  There were many replies.  A few selected replies are being given below.

Question: How American apple farmers are able to compete you in spite of the fact that farm labour rates are atleast seven times more in US than what we have in HP. The other orchard inputs are also expensive there. Then it costs a fortune to ship apples from US to India. They pay some custom duty too.

What is the problem.

Will HP or even J&K and Uttarakhand apple growers though some light on it.

My view is that the apple growers here have been a protected lot. So they want this protection to continue forever. They do not want to raise their profitability by shifting to the new production techniques.

Please do write back. Replies will be published in the next issue of FRUITWORLD Online

Arundhati Ghosh

2:53pm Sep 5

My understanding is that farming/agriculture/horticulture industries are heavily subsidised in the US by the government as in Europe. This makes their products cheaper and this is the problem that even Australian growers have with American products that are imported here. The 2nd issue - I'd really like to know the quality of the apples that are being shipped to India. Because one of the common practice in Australia is that poor quality products that don't fetch much in the market here or don't make the approved standards are shipped off to India. So the farmers (or generally the middle men) earn money instead of having to throw the produce for which otherwise they would have earned nothing. And then in India they market it as "Made in Australia" and make it out to be big/great thing when infact they are really poor quality produce. Maybe, that is also being the case with the US apples? Instead of throwing or getting rid of lower grade produce, they're earning something by sending it to India and where people will buy them thinking, "Oh American apples!!"

Hitendra Patial

10:49pm Sep 5

Lack of profess....

Rajesh Kumar Gupta

12:13am Sep 6

I fully agree with you dear Arundhati Ghosh, though unfortunate but it is the sad reality of our time.....:((

Pankaj Gaur

1:12pm Sep 6

We cannot have a special policy only for apple, until unless we are having huge production of apple and the demand is far less than what we produce. As the news paper writes that nearly 2 lakh MT fruits were imported last year, it seems, there is demand and supply gap in itself. What should be done is to shift to increase productivity than to increase prices. American apples or apples from anywhere coming to India are not sold at prices lower than Indian apples. So the fear seems to be driven by lack of competitiveness. Moreover the different governments should be more constructive towards providing solutions to fight the competition rather than giving such foolish solutions like increasing import duties. We ourselves are also exporters and global trade cannot be run by emotions. One thing which can surely be done is standardizing the quality parameters for imported goods, so that India may not become dumping ground for inferior quality produce.

Jayant Kumar

2:34pm Sep 18

Problem of apple production in India in comparison to other countries
In India we are growing apples under most difficult conditions. The area of Himachal Pradesh is located between 30.5 to 33.5 degreeN latitude. Which is marginal area for temperate fruit cultivation, and those varieties can be grown which have low chilling requirements as per the reference of “Temperate Zone Pomology” by M N Westwood. We are able to grow apples because of high altitude only. The best area for temperate fruit lies between 35 to 50 degree N.I have also enclosed the maps of Himachal Pradesh and Wenatchee,Washington State which is the best apple growing area of the world and also have best apple nurseries especially Van Well Nurseries and Quincy Nursery,C&O Nursery in USA.
In USA and other apple growing countries especially China which is the biggest apple grower of the world. They grow in a area where the climate is highly suitable for apple cultivation. In Washington state USA, It is a cold desert and the days are long in summer and the temperatures does not go above 270C during summer. The sun will rise almost at 6 am and set around 10 or 11 pm. Typical temperate weather conditions are available there. This results in excellent quality production of apple. The apples are fully coloured and have high sugar contents and can be stored for almost one year and may be little more.
I am located at Regional Horticultural Research Station, Bajaura, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. It s altitude is 100 meters above mean sea level and lies at 32degreeE and 77degreeL. The summer temperatures can shoot upto 37.5 degreeC and in winters may fall to -4 degreeC. The chilling requirement is completed ,the apples can be grown here,.but they donot develop good colour and shape and their keeping quality is poor.Even the new strains of apple Vance and Top Red and spur varieties such as Oregon Spur, Red Chief, Scarlet Spur II and Super Chief have poor colour and shapes and short shelf life. As you move to 1800 m a m s l on mountains around Bajaura the quality improves drastically. But still not comparable to US and China.However the cold deserts of Lahul and Spiti appears to be like USA as far as the climate is concerned.
Regarding adoption of new technologies.

1. In Himachal, mostly the farmers have small land holdings and also fragmented. Two acres of land will be in 10 small pieces. The lands are further squeezing due to family division. Only few families have more than 10 acres of land.

2. It is difficult to change the orchards. If we remove 20 to 30 yrs old plantation the families cannot meet their financial requirements. More over we are also facing a problem of Apple Replant Disease.

3. In USA the holdings are large and they leave the area fellow for five years and then do replanting.

4. The area for new plantation is too less now in our state.

5. We are giving all the technologies to farmers including new varieties of apples. Lots of farmers are taking guidance from research stations.


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