Coca Cola CSR initiative – High-density apple farming in Uttarakhand rise
Apple Farming in Uttarakhand – Devaki Devi, a 35-year-old farmer from the Champawat district of Uttarakhand, was reluctant to adopt a high density planting of new apple varieties in a small area of just five nali (10,800 square feet) at a mid-altitude range of 1,000-1,500 metres above sea level, like many other farmers in Uttarakhand.
Devi had been cultivating vegetables on her small plot of land for years, but she changed to growing apples when she saw other farmers obtaining higher yields and profits.
She received training in HDP (High Density Plantation) under the “Unnati apple project,” a CSR initiative of Coca-Cola India in partnership with Indo Dutch Horticulture Technologies, situated in Bhimtal, and G B Pant University Of Agriculture and Technology.
Devi planted 250 Gala mema and Red Delicious apple seedlings in five nali locations in 2021 with technical and financial assistance from the Unnati initiative.
The HDP approach places apple trees per metre as opposed to the standard method’s spacing of 5-7 metres between them.
“In August, apple fruits are usually ready for harvest. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fruit kinds I planted in HDP were ripe for picking as early as July. In the first year alone, I received 5 to 6 kg of produce per tree “Devi said to PTI.
Apple Farming in Uttarakhand
Devi sold apples for Rs 150 per kilogramme and profited because her fruit was available a month earlier. In the first year alone, she made close to Rs 1.80 lakh. With a yield of up to 10-15 kg per tree, Devi is now anticipating harvesting next month.
Up until he tried his hand at five nali locations under the Unnati initiative, 57-year-old Madan Singh, a conventional apple farmer, found it impossible to cultivate apple trees at mid-altitude and obtain the yield in 12 months after the planting.
Despite a favorable climate and a large amount of land accessible for greenfield apple production, the Uttarakhand state’s output was low, at 3 to 4 tonnes per hectare per year, half the national average, according to Panda.
The corporation set up demo farms at the locations of the farmers because they were reluctant to make the initial investment needed to create contemporary HDP apple orchards of the highest international standards. Along with planting supplies, discounted prices are offered on drip irrigation, trellis support structures with four wire support, perforated weed mulching, hail net, and fencing supplies.
Coca-Cola India worked with Indo Dutch Horticulture Technologies (IDHT) as its implementation partner in Uttarakhand to secure the welfare of farmer communities, boost yields, and promote the wise use of natural resources.
“There is potential to make the nation apple self-sufficient with the HDP apple orchards’ anticipated five-fold increase in yield. This will also contribute in reversing migration and give young people in hilly areas jobs “Director of Indo-Dutch Horticulture Technologies (IDHT), Sudhir Chadha.
In India, there are 2 lakh hectares dedicated to apple farming, 10,000 of which are in Uttarakhand.
The subsidy for establishing an HDP apple orchard in five nali zones has been capped by Coca-Cola India. Three states receive different subsidies. However, farmers are free to enlarge their orchards at their own expense.
In addition to increasing production of apples, the business is working with farmers in 11 states as part of the Unnati project to increase production of priority commodities such sugarcane as well as mango, orange, grapes, and litchi.