Money

Bountiful Harvest: Farm harvests 215,000kg of apples worth Rs32 million

- AASH GURUNG, LAMJUNG

Dec 17, 2017-

An apple farm in the western mountainous Nepali district of Manang has harvested 215,000 kg of apple worth Rs32.3 million. The farm operated by Agro Manang Pvt Ltd in northern Nesyang village has generated a net profit of Rs26 million from sales of the fruit.

The company was able to generate the profit despite a fall in apple prices this year. Agro Manang grows three types of apples: Gala, Golden and Fuji. These apples are harvested and dispatched to the market in September, October and November, respectively.

Gala apples which were being sold for Rs175 per kg till last year now cost Rs140 per kg. Price of Golden apple, on the other hand, has dropped to Rs130 per kg from Rs165 per kg in the last year, while Fuji apples now cost Rs150-170 per kg as against Rs195 a year ago. The apple farm owned by Agro Manang is spread across 450 ropanis (about 22.9 hectares) of land and consists of 67,000 apple trees. These trees first started bearing fruits three years ago. In the first year, 60,000 kg apples were harvested from the farm. A year ago, another 148,742 kg apples were plucked. This year the farm was expected to harvest apples worth Rs50 million. “But that target could not be met because of elections,” said Polden Chhopang Gurung, promoter of Agro Manang.  As in the rest of the country, the district first went for local elections, followed by state assembly and federal parliamentary polls. “These elections consumed much of my time and I could not focus on farm work,” said Gurung, who recently became the member of the federal parliament after winning the election held in Manang. He is also the president of the CPN-UML (Manang Chapter).

Agro Manang had imported apple plants from Italy and Serbia to start the farm. These plants, which are barely 4-5 feet tall, start bearing fruits within 5-6 months of transplantation. Currently, each plant grown in the farm is generating around 7 kg of apples. After three to four years, each plant will produce up to 42 kg of apples. “These plants can grow apples for at least 25 years because their life span ranges from 30 to 32 years,” said Gurung, adding, “We have distributed these plants in Jumla and Solukhumbu as well.”

Agro Manang is planning to grow apples on additional 285 ropanis of land in Manang. To store all the apples, the company has established a cold storage facility at the farm. It can store 500,000 kg of apples. The company has also built cold storage facilities at Besishahar of Lamjung and Kathmandu. “These facilities will come into operation beginning next year,” said Gurung, who has been providing direct employment to around 40 people at the farm.

Agro Manang is currently distributing its products to various markets from Kathmandu. From next year, it will start selling products from Pokhara and Chitwan as well. “We are also planning to export apples to India beginning next year,” said Gurung.

Agro Manang has leased most of the farm land from seven rural municipalities of the district for a period of 27 years at Rs129.1 million. “Our aim is to build the biggest apple orchard in South Asia,” said Gurung.

Published: 17-12-2017 08:37

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