Apple growers in Mugu are worried about their output this year as their trees are not bearing usual amount of fruit. Hailstorms had battered apple trees in April and May when the fruit was in the development stage.
Karna Bahadur Rawal of Talchha who owns 150 apple trees said that apple production has halved this year as compared to last year’s production.
“Our income will also drop this year,” he said, adding that low fruit production would affect many apple farmers.
Another farmer, Dhirendra Bham of Talchha is also worried. He has 30 apple trees and most of the trees are not bearing fruit. “Hailstorms in April and May affected the fruit development stage which is a vital stage for fruit development,” he said.
Farmer Hari Rokaya had earned Rs300,000 last year from apples. But this year, he is very disappointed as he will not be earning even half of the amount. He has 400 apple trees. He said that production has dropped not only due to hailstorm but also drought.
The key apple production areas like Ban, Durkhyalbada and Fhuipata including other villages have witnessed a sharp drop in apple production this year.
As many as 500 households at Durkhyalbada who fully depend on apple income have been hit hardest, farmers said.
Nandalal Baduwal, mayor of Chhayanath Rara Municipality, said that Ban area used to produce 12 tonnes of apples annually. “However, output is expected to drop by two-third this year,” he said. “The hailstorm has wiped out the main income of farmers.”
As Mugu is now well connected by roads, apples produced in the area started to get better price. The fruit are normally supplied to Surkhet, Nepalgunj, Kathmandu, Bhairahawa and Butwal including other cities.
According to District Agriculture Development Office, around 3,391 tonnes of apple had been produced in the district last year. Of the total production, 2,500 tonnes were supplied to different part of countries. The district brought home around Rs4.5 million selling apple last year.
Chaturj Chaudhary, a horticulture officer, said natural disaster had resulted in an output loss. Golden delicious and royal delicious including other types of apples is grown in the district. According to agriculture technician, winter drought and lack of irrigation during the flower time caused less production of apples.