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HRMN-99: A SUITABLE APPLE VARIETY FOR ALL CLIMATE

Hariman Sharma, an innovative farmer from Paniala, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, has brought in a tectonic shift in #apple cultivation in India. With special interest in #agriculture, Hariman successfully grown an apple variety in Bilaspur. This apple variety can be grown in plain, tropical, and subtropical areas. This apple variety does not require chilling hours for flowering and fruit setting. He has become a source of inspiration for thousands of farmers and agriculturists of Bilaspur and other lower hill districts of the state, the areas which earlier could never dream of growing the apple fruits. He also succeeded in growing apples, mangoes, pomegranates, litchi, apricot, kiwis, avocado, sapodilla, and coffee in the same field. Govt. of Himachal Pradesh appointed him as a member in the Board of Management, Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry. Currently, he is serving as a member in the Research Council of Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan and serving as a member of State Level Executive Committee under Mission of Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) Project by Govt. of Himachal Pradesh. In an exclusive interview with The Interview World, Hariman explains how the variety of apple developed by him is a boon for farmers involved in #horticulture.

#1. Could you please explain how did you arrive at such innovation?

During 1999, I observed a fruit bearing apple seedling in my courtyard. The seeds in the courtyard were disposed by me. Being curious about grafting of fruit plants, I preserved the apple plant and took some branches and grafted them on a plum tree due to non-availability of apple tree. Grafting was successful and fruit quality was very good. In 2004-05, I brought some crab apple seedlings from Shimla and grafted the same way. I created a mini orchard of apple trees which are continuing to bear fruits till today. In my own initiative, farmers from the 7 Districts of Himachal Pradesh have planted 1,00,000 apple saplings which are bearing fruits successfully.

#2. Is the apple variety local to Himachal Pradesh or can be grown anywhere in the country?

To study the suitability and adaptability of my apple variety called HRMN-99 in various agro-climatic conditions of the country, National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has transplanted around 10,000 saplings at 1,190 farmers’ field and 25 organizations in 29 states and 5 union territories during 2015-2017. Successful fruiting in states like Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan Jammu, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Himachal, and Delhi was reported, which led to increase in the demand of saplings on very large scale by the farmers throughout the country. Moreover, HRMN-99 apple plants in Bangladesh, Nepal, Germany, and Jambia are also giving fruit successfully.

#3. How does HRMN-99 differentiate from other apple varieties?

Traditionally, apple can be grown at altitudes ranging from 5,000 to 8,500 feet above mean sea level in the Himalayan range which experiences 1,000 to 1,500 hours of chilling. However, the variety HRMN-99 developed by me can be grown in lower hills and plain areas located at 1,800 feet above mean sea level or less. This variety requires very little chilling and therefore can bear fruit in the plains. Morphological and SSR DNA finger printing study by NIF and Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission confirms that HRMN-99 has diversity and superiority over other low chilling varieties. Another study on fruit quality has been done by ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region Manipur.

#4. Have you protected your innovation for HRMN-99 variety of apple?

HRMN-99 variety has been registered under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and protected by National Innovation Foundation, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India’s Letter No. D.S.D./2-20/128155 dated 07-09-2020. I own this variety and the government has empowered only me to grow and sale. So, I would request the farmers of India not to be deceived by anyone who claims to sell variety HRMN-99.

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