Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. About 70% of total population of state depends directly or indirectly on agriculture. Apple and walnut are the major products of Jammu and Kashmir state, about 75% of apple production in India comes from Jammu and Kashmir. A number of research have been done in the field of apple cultivation, storage and preservation. Some of the techniques we found are as follows:
AFTERCARE:One of the technique used in the aftercare of apple is clean basin management. In this technique the basin is kept clean by hand or by black alkathene mulching which controls weed, conserve moisture and improves the quality of fruits as well.
FRUIT DROP :Fruit drop occurs in three phases’ i.e. early drop, June drop and pre harvest drop.
IRRIGATION :Apple crop need a certain degree of moisture content in soil. Most of the apple orchards are in hilly terrain where irrigation facility is not adequate. Uniform distribution of rainfall and irrigation during critical periods is needed for the better growth of apples.
HARVESTING AND POST-HARVEST MANAGEMENT :The harvest period of apple depends on variety to variety. For example red apple has the harvest period from late September to early October.Post-harvest is the handling of the crop or fruit immediately after harvest. The techniques used in the post harvesting are as follows
PRECOOLING :Pre-cooling is the process of removing heat before packing and further processing of the apples.
GRADING Grading of the apples can be done in 3 ways namely, fruit size, fruit appearance and quality. According to the size apples are graded manually in 6 grades. On the basis of fruit colour, shape and quality, apple are graded in 3 or more quality grades. These grades are normally known as AAA, AA and A; A, B, C.
PACKAGING: There are various techniques for packaging apples .in India itself Apples are packed in wooden boxes.
STORAGE :The storage temperature for apple is -1.1 -0 C. Apple varieties can be stored for 4-8 month after harvesting.
PHYSICOLOGICAL DISORDERS: Scald, Bitter pit, Internal Browning are some common disorders which occurs apple. Scald is the major concern for apple growers.
HARVEST:The harvesting period of apples in china is from September to October. Usually apples which are going to the cold storage for the storage for a span of time should be harvested 7-10 days before the harvesting period.
POSTHARVEST TREATMENT: For cleaning they used to immerse the apples in a chemical solutions for example calcium chloride solution (3%-6%), ethoxyquin solution (0.25%-0.35%) and thiabendazole solution (1000-2500mg/kg). Many storage methods have been used to preserve apples in China, of which traditional storage, cold storage and CA storage are the most widely used.So we see that now they are more inclined towards advanced technology like controlled atmosphere and we will check whether these advanced techniques are being used in India or not .if not , what are the possibilities of them being used.
Worried over sharp declining trends in apple production in the country, the union government is coming out with new proposals and measures, including setting up of more cold storage facilities, to augment the produce, particularly in the hill states of Jammu and Kashmir. Apples stay best in modernised storage facilities called Controlled Atmosphere Units. According to official data, the area under cultivation for apples in Jammu and Kashmir jumped from 141.7 hectares in 2011-12 to 157.28 hectares in 2012-13.But production has declined. One of the main reasons, the officials said, is that traditional fertile apple fields have given way to unplanned urbanisation and conversion into residential areas. Overall, the national domestic production also declined to about 18.85 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 from about 25 lakh tonnes in the previous year. Dwindling supplies from the 2016-17 crop caused prices for the 2017-18 crop to start out strong, especially for varieties in high demand that experienced supply shortages. Fruit quality for the 2017-18 crop is reported better than last year. Similar to the 2016-17 crop, the 2017-18 crop will be large. The industry is optimistic about fruit size and quality, which should improve marketability. Lower cullage rates decrease repacking costs and higher volumes will help packing warehouses’ profitability for the 2017- 18 season. Pricing will remain favorable for growers with modern varieties while those with dated or less desirable fruit may continue experiencing declining demand.
- Dr.Sangeeta Soi