Plastic bags help pollination in apple gardens in Kullu

April 9th, 2011 - 5:34 pm ICT by ANI  

Kullu, Apr 9 (ANI): Despite a strict ban imposed by the Provincial Government on the use of plastic and polythene products like bags in a bid to reduce pollution levels, apple growers and orchard owners in Himachal Pradesh continue to use them.

The apple growers in the region rely on the ‘Bouquet Pollination’ technique in which the pollinating branches are placed in polythene bags filled with water and hung on the apple trees.

In particular, the orchard owners of Kullu district voiced their concern that if they discontinue this practice of ‘Bouquet Pollination’ then they would suffer huge losses.

“Plastic bags play an integral role in the pollination process. People make variety of bouquet and put it inside the plastic bag and use it for pollination. If they are unable to carry out pollination, then the farmers would suffer huge losses,” said an apple grower.

“The apple business in Kullu would come to a halt as there is yet no arrangement for the pollination process other than this,” he added.

The President of Apple Growers Association, Prem Sharma slammed the state government for not being able to provide the farmers with substitutes in place of polythene bags.

He also noted that the farmers are not intentionally breaking the laws.

“The government should provide an alternative to the farmers so that the farmers are not forced to break the laws. No farmer intends to break the law, but they are forced to do so as they have no other option,” said Sharma.

On an average, Himachal Pradesh produces 550 thousand metric tonnes of apples annually. Apple orchards have a share of around 48 percent in the state’s horticulture.

The apple business is considered as a major occupation for locals, mainly for the apple growers in rural Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts of the state. (ANI)

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