New Zealand could soon lend a helping hand to Himachal Pradesh by offering its expertise to raise apple production in the state .
David Carter, minister of primary industries, New Zealand, on a visit to India, here on Monday said, “Himachal has a vast potential to increase apple yield by planting high-yielding varieties and replacement of old root-stock where New Zealand could lend its support”.
“Similarly, technology transfer in agriculture could be another sector where we could provide expertise as 90 per cent of the population live in villages here,” said Carter.
The New Zealand delegation met top state government officials including the chief minister, P K Dhumal.
Currently, Himachal produces 4 to 9 MT per hectare apple as compared 25 MT per hectare yield in New Zealand.
The state is keen to import quality root-stock of apple from New Zealand for multiplication in laboratories in the state and distribute them to farmers. Most of the apple varieties in Himachal are old American varieties which are over 50 years old . In the past, the state had imported root-stock but the number has been so small that only a few farmers have benefited.
Along with neighbouring Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh accounts for for the country’s ‘almost’ entire apple production.