Small farmer Puran Chand a success story of apple varieties being a success in lower Himachal

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 Fruits of hard work are sweet. Puran Chand of village Durgella in Shahpur Vidhan Sabha area of Kangra district has proved this saying by his sheer dedication, hard work and out-of-box thinking. A small farmer with meager land holding, Puran Chand a few years back was cultivating wheat and other traditional crops on his land. His innovative thinking and motivation by the officials of Horticulture Department led him to plant saplings of Dorset Golden and Anna variety of apples in his about two bigha land.

The journey of Puran Chand started about three year back in 2018, when he was motivated by the scheme of the State Government to provide subsidy for construction of water tank and also for developing farm land. He was always impressed by the robust economy of the people of apple growing areas of the State, particularly of Shimla district. Thanks to the State Horticulture Department for developing apple varieties suitable for lower areas of the State, Puran Chand decided to set up an apple farm on his land.

‘When I started plantation of apple on my field, even my wife opposed my idea and my neighbours laughed at my decision’, says Puran Chand. ‘But I have made up my mind that whatever comes my way, but I will not abandon my idea and will go ahead with my mission’, he added.

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Puran Chand was provided all technical knowhow by the officials of the Department and within  a short period of three years, he saw his hard work bearing fruits.  Last year, Puran Chand sold apple worth about Rs 1.50 lakh, at a rate of Rs 100 to Rs. 150 per kg. He claims that he does not use chemical fertilizer or spray in his garden. “I use a variety of organic fertilizers made from pulses, kitchen waste, oil seeds, cow urine and cow dung,” he adds. Puran Chand has also prepared a nursery of about 28,000 apple saplings by taking land on lease. He said that last winter he sold about 3500 saplings to local farmers. ‘Local people and tourists purchased apples directly from my farm’, said Puran Chand.

He also developed an apple nursery, so that willing farmers could be provided apple plants. He said he is supplying apple plants to progressive farmers all over the country. ‘My clientele is from other parts of the country as I have supplied apple plants to farmers of Karnataka, North-East, Gujarat Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Telangana etc., said Puran Chand.

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Puran Chand also got 80 per cent subsidy for anti-hail-net from the state government. At present, he has planted about 150 plants of Anna and Dorset apple species on a four-kanal garden. He is also planning to plant about 100 more apple plants on his field. He called upon the youth to become self-employed. He advised the youth not to run after white-collar jobs, instead adopt horticulture by planting saplings of apple, kiwi and guava.

Motivated by Puran Chand, more and more farmers of Durgela, Bhanala, Bandi, Rajol, Dhadamba villages in Shahpur area have planted apple saplings which have given a big boost to their economy as these plants start giving yield in two to three years. Puran Chand is always ready to provide technical know-how to the farmers willing to adopt apple farming in the area.