Shimla, March 25 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government has got permission from the Union Ministry of Agriculture for importing a chemical and machinery to combat serious problems afflicting apple produce, an official said on Saturday.
The Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce, Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) would soon import chloropicrin from the US-based Trinity Mfg. Inc. for providing it to the University of Horticulture and Forestry in Nauni for trials.
A spokesperson of the horticulture department said the chemical would be used to combat serious problems of specific apple replant disease and would go a long way in managing soil borne pathogens affecting other fruits, vegetables and floriculture crops.
The chemical was so far not registered in India and thus could not be manufactured or imported from outside for use in soil treatment.
The spokesperson said keeping in view the importance of the chemical steps have been initiated under the World Bank-funded Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project for getting the chemical registered in the country.
He said multi-locational trials would be conducted in Shimla, Solan and Kullu districts this year. This would pave the way for registration of the chemical in the country.
This is one of the major initiatives by the state which would especially benefit the apple growers of Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts where the orchards had become too old and senile and need immediate replacement with latest varieties and rootstocks.
Himachal Pradesh is one of India’s major apple-producing regions, with more than 90 per cent of the produce going to the domestic market. Apples alone constitute 84 per cent of the state’s fruit economy of Rs 3,500 crore ($520 million).