Money

Jumla sells apples worth Rs180 million

- LP Devkota, JUMLA

Oct 15, 2018-

Jumla has recorded a bumper sale of organic apples amounting to Rs180 million this year as traders and farmers were able to supply the fruits to markets on time due to the improved transportation system in the district.

This year, the district produced 6,000 tonnes of apples. Of the total production, 3,000 tonnes has been supplied to different cities across the country.

Apple farmers said that the farm gate price of apple this year has reached Rs50 per kg. And if the apple is supplied in the market, farmers get Rs60 per kg, they said. According to Balakram Devkota, an official at Krishi Gyan Kendra in Jumla, apple farmers have been receiving a good price this year. He said the out of 6,000 tonnes of apple production, half of them have already been sold.

“A small batch of apples have been kept in the cold store.” Nearly 10 percent of the apple produced in Jumla is consumed by the farmers themselves. Until a few years ago, farmers of Jumla district in the Mid-western region had to dump apples for want of buyers due to various reasons including lack of feasible transportation in particular.

However, things have changed over the years. Now the produce is gaining a good market within and outside the district, while buyers are also approaching farmers at their farms to buy apple. The potential market for Jumla apples includes nearby districts like Surkhet and Banke. Traders said that the local government had permitted them to transport apples outside Jumla from August 26.

“Jumla’s apples were mostly supplied to Surkhet and Nepalgunj markets this year,” said Narayan Hamal, a local trader. Kathmandu, Pokhara, Rolpa, Rukum and Dhangadhi are the other major markets for Jumla’s apple. As Jumla’s organic apples are relatively cheaper and of better quality compared to Indian apples, they are becoming increasing popular. After the unofficial trade blockade imposed by India in 2015, imported products have reduced significantly in the market, traders said.

Although apple can be cultivated on 10,000 hectares in Jumla, only 3,000 hectares have been utilised. According to Krishi Gyan Kendra, apple trees in 850 hectares are bearing fruits. After the government launched a special project providing farmers with irrigation facility, market access and saplings to boost production, more and more farmers have been engaged in commercial apple farming. “Apple farming has become a prime source of income for many farmers,” said Kantika Sajuwal, chief of Chandannath Municipality. “We have been encouraging farmers to invest in apple farming by providing assistance.”

The local government has been providing farmers a 75 percent subsidy on apple packaging cartons through cooperatives. Nine years ago, the District Development Committee had declared Jumla as an organic district.In 2009, Jumla’s apples secured the Nepal organic certificate. Since then, demand has been growing. The district had even launched a ‘one village, one apple orchard’ campaign to boost production following the steep rise in demand.

Published: 15-10-2018 09:04

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