Myagdi. Apples worth more than Rs 49 crore have been exported from Mustang this year. Apples are the main agricultural produce exported from Mustang. The apple zone office of the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project in Mustang has said that 90 percent of the apples produced this year have been exported to the market.
Netra Prasad Bhatt, head of Apple Zone Mustang, said that out of 4,975 metric tons of apples produced in the district, 4,477.5 metric tons of apples were exported to different parts of the country.
“Ninety percent of the apples grown in Mustang have been exported to the market”, he said, “About five hundred metric tons of apples have been kept in the humid house to be sold during the off-season.” According to the apple zone office, apples worth Rs 49 crore 25 lakh 25 thousand have been exported at the rate of Rs 110 per kg sold by the farmers.
Traders in cities such as Myagdi, Baglung, Pokhara, Chitwan, Butwal, Kathmandu and other cities purchase apples on contract without ripening them in the garden. Tourists who come to visit Mustang also buy apples as koseli. Shivang Tamang, a businessman who went to Mustang to buy apples from Dhading, said that the demand for Mustang apples is high in the markets of Beni, Baglung and Pokhara. He said that even thin fruits have large and tasty seeds.
Apples with small seeds that cannot be sold are used to make wine and sukuti. Reddelicious, Royal Delicious, Richard Delicious and Golden Delicious varieties of apples have been cultivated in Mustang. Of the 1,475 hectares of apple cultivation in Mustang, 580 hectares of apple trees are producing. High density apples brought from Italy have been cultivated on an area of about 38 hectares.
Prakash Bastakoti, head of Krishi Gyan Kendra Mustang, said that 6,600 metric tons of apples were produced in Mustang last year, but this year the production has decreased by 24.58 percent. “When there is a lot of rain at the time of flowering and pollination, the production has decreased because the apple seeds are less from the flower”, he said, “The production has been affected by the rains during the month of May-June when the apple blossoms are not pollinated.”
The center said that it has compiled the data by collecting details of productivity in all the five local level apple orchards of Mustang using the serial cutting method.
Five hundred 51.88 metric tons in a total of one hundred and eight hectares of Thasang Rural Municipality, two thousand four hundred two.64 metric tons in an area of two hundred and eighty hectares of Gharpazhong Rural Municipality, one thousand nine hundred and twenty three thirty three metric tons in an area of one hundred and eighty three hectares of Waragung Muktikshetra Rural Municipality. 95 metric tons of apples have been produced in 12 hectares of Loghekar Damodarkund Rural Municipality and 10.99 metric tons of apples have been produced in 0.25 hectares of Lomanthang Rural Municipality.
Karma Gurung, a farmer of Gharpazhong Rural Municipality-2 Syang, who sold apples worth Rs 5 crore last year, said that only Rs 3 crore worth of apples were sold this year. His garden has 1,500 apple trees. After picking the apples and sending them to the market, the farmers of Mustang are busy managing the orchard.
Farmers of Mustang have been attracted to apple cultivation since they started getting easy market and good price along with road transport facilities. According to the Krishi Gyan Center office, apples were cultivated on a total of 1,475 hectares of land till last year.
Apple cultivation has expanded to 20 hectares this year. Krishi Gyan Kendra, the apple zone of the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project and the local level agriculture branch have supported the farmers in the distribution of apple seedlings, pack support for keeping apples, irrigation, construction of moisture houses, etc.