Apple Cultivation in Telangana

May 29, 2020 03:50 PM

In India, apples are associated with Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. But one determined tribal farmer created a Kashmir in TS. Meet Balaji Kendre who comes from Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra. He migrated to Telangana along with his family. Balaji is a 12th dropout and does not belong to the farming background. His story is a reminiscence of Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken."

His journey started 4 years ago when he observed a variety of apples in Himachal Pradesh growing in 40 degrees Celsius. People around started mocking him when he suggested the idea of growing apples in Telangana. Initially, he started with few plants and the results were exceptional. Balaji was replicating the orchards in Kashmir and he began to contact farmers in Himachal Pradesh.

The young farmer was confident that apple orchard was best suited in Keriameri region situated at 220 meters above sea level. It was an ideal cultivation region surrounded by hilly terrain. The weather was perfect but there were challenges initially in the arid land surrounded by rugged terrain. Years of dedication and hard work transformed the remote village of Dhanora in Kerameri area of K.M. Asifabad district into Kashmir.

Balaji Kendre started with 50 saplings and when the saplings grew and bore fruits he approached the Agriculture Department. The experts guided him to grow other trees nearby which are suited for the climate while protecting the apple crops. The present number of apple trees is 400 and the first crop produced HR-99 variety apples.

There was assistance from agriculture scientists from the Center for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad. Balaji received the best farmer award in 2017. Forests and Environment minister Indrakaran Reddy visited the farm and hailed him for his innovative approach. The Chief Minister of Telangana is mightily impressed with Balaji and would meet him soon.

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