New Delhi: Unseasonal rains have long caused a sharp decline in apple production in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh. Not anymore. Many apple cultivators here have now turned to special nets which prevents hailstorms from affecting the fruit and in turn, helping orchard owners protect their investments.
News agency ANI reports that many apple cultivators have bought nets specially designed to protect apples growing on trees from hailstorms. Some of them say that the fruit is not just protected from weather conditions but also from birds. They add that they are also getting 80% subsidy from the state government to make use of such nets.
ANI further quotes an official from Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Department as saying that cultivators are being widely encouraged to buy and make use of these nets in order to protect their unplucked stocks. "Anti-hail nets play a very important role in saving apples from unseasonal hailstorms. We have even given freedom to our cultivators to purchase the best quality nets from market after which we provide them subsidy," says Manohar Lal Dhiman, Director at the department of horticulture.
Shimla, Kullu, Sirmour, Mandi, Chamba and Kinnaur are the major apple-growing belts in the state.
Unseasonal rains and hailstorms have repeatedly played havoc on fruit and vegetable plantations in states like Himachal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. And while weather patterns cannot always be rightly predicted and definitely not altered, special nets like the anti-hailstorm nets can promise to minimise the damage.