Shopian: The farmers have begun harvesting the high-density varieties of apple across south Kashmir.
At least 30 to 40 apple trucks have been arriving at Fruit Mandi Shopian, the busiest mandi in south Kashmir, since the harvesting began in the second week of this month.
The varieties, which are being harvested, include Gala, King roat, Scarlet and Scarlet spur, Red velox, Jeromine, and others.
President of Fruit Mandi Pulwama, Javed Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that over 70 percent of Gala variety was harvested in the district.
He said that the harvesting of the other varieties had also begun in the area.
A fruit cultivator and former president of Fruit Mandi Shopian, Muhammad Ashraf Wani said that the harvesting had begun in all the four south Kashmir districts – Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, and Anantnag.
He said that the good apple prices had brought cheers to the farmers.
“Presently the 10 kg Gala variety is sold at Rs 1300 to Rs 1400,” Wani said.
He said that other varieties were sold between Rs 900 and Rs 1000 per 10 kg.
In the apple-producing districts of Kashmir, many farmers are taking to high-density apple cultivation.
Most of these varieties have been imported from Italy. The high-density varieties enter the fruit bearing stage earlier than the conventional varieties and fetch farmers good prices.
“Compared to traditional varieties, we see very less pre-harvest fruit drop in high-density varieties,” said Tariq Ahmad Mir, who owns a high-density apple orchard.
“There is also no colour issue with these varieties,” he said.
A horticulture official said that over 5000 kanal of the horticulture land was under the cultivation of high-density apple plantations.
High-density orchards sprawling over several kanal of land can be seen in dozens of villages of south Kashmir.
Abdul Rashid Bhat, a grower from Shopian, said that they were looking forward to a good crop and price.
He said that the harvesting would last till the first week of September.
“The harvesting in Shopian begins a little later compared to other places,” he said.