Single farm to grow Rs50m worth of applesAn apple orchard in the western mountainous Nepali district of Manang is waiting for a bumper harvest this year, with sales revenue expected to hit a whopping Rs50 million.
An apple orchard in the western mountainous Nepali district of Manang is waiting for a bumper harvest this year, with sales revenue expected to hit a whopping Rs50 million.
The orchard, spread across 450 ropanis (about 22.9 hectares) in Neshyang village council, consists of 67,000 apple trees. These trees first started bearing fruits three years ago. In the first year, 60,000 kg of apples were harvested from this farm. A year ago, another 148,742 kg of apples were plucked.
The farm grows three types of apples: Gala, Golden and Fuji. These apples are harvested and dispatched to the market in September, October and November, respectively.
“We are expecting apple harvest to double this year,” said Polden Chhopang Gurung, promoter of Agro Manang Private Limited, which runs the apple farm. Last year, Gurung sold apples for Rs130-Rs140 per kg from his farm. This year, the price is expected to come down to Rs110 per kg.
“Despite this, my income will grow this year, as I’m hoping to harvest around 450,000 kg of apples,” said Gurung, who made an investment of Rs160 million to set up his farm. Gurung is planning to further increase apple production by expanding the size of the farm and raising investment to Rs230 million. If things go according to plan, he will soon plant 75,000 saplings on additional 285 ropanis of land.
This way, he is hoping to harvest 900,000 kg of apples in 2018, 1.3 million kg of apples in 2019, and 1.8 million kg of apples in 2020 and 2.1 million kg of apples in 2021.
The main reason for such bumper harvests is the use of hybrid apple plants. These plants imported from Italy and Serbia start bearing fruits within 5-6 months of transplanting. Initially, each plant was growing 7-10 kg of apples, according to Gurung. “Now, each of these trees grows 35 kg of apples.” To store all these apples that are grown in the farm, Gurung is all set to establish a cold storage facility at the cost of around Rs30 million. This facility will be able to store 500,000 kg of apples.
“We are now exploring the possibilities of expanding our apple farm to other districts as well,” Gurung said, adding, “An apple tree gives good harvest for at least 25 years, although it has a life of 30-32 years.”