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Future of Apple Production in Himachal Pradesh

Our Lead Strategist, Dr. Rajan Kotru, presented much-awaited survey findings of the Apple Value Chain in Himachal Pradesh before the Government officials on 01.08.2022 at Shimla. The survey was done for German International Cooperation (GIZ) under Indo-German Development Cooperation Programme and through Suvigya Management Consultants Private Limited.

The survey was conducted from December 2021 to April 2022 for Kullu and Shimla Districts. The purpose was to ascertain the climate change impacts on the apple value chain and the risks associated with it. Based on the field analysis coping strategy is suggested and recommendations are made for the way forward with a focus on changes are needed in policy, technology, infrastructure, research and development, governance and institutions, and marketing.

It is obvious that climate change is already affecting apple production but also ongoing land degradation is exacerbating the duel impact of climatic and non-climatic factors. Hence Dr. Kotru has suggested to consider apple production ecosystem as part of the overall landscape connected with other ecosystem services that emerge from numerous other landscape elements such as forests, wetlands, agroforestry, rangelands, etc. Hence broadly it is time that the Landscape approach is adopted for apple production, mid-and long term actions are planned to incrementally convert monoculture to a mixed orchard (70:30 Ratio) with other fruit species (Plim, Cherry, Apricot, Pear etc.), reduce the consumption of chemical fertilizers and pesticides while moving toward an organic/natural farming pathway, apply a certification system across the value chain (e.g. for management, nursery, processed products, etc.), incentivize orchardists for good performance on improving agroecology/biodiversity, offer premium prices for the organic produce and link orchardists to the quality demanded but sustainable marketing. Social and environmental safeguards should be a priority for an ecologically fragile Himalayan landscape.

On the other hand, apple orchard management needs technical refurbishing and continuous real-time data on climatic parameters. Lastly, a better complementarity of numerous public schemes reaching these orchardists in a convergence mode will enhance their resilience to change.

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