POTENTIAL OF FRUIT GROWING IN COLD DESERT AREAS OF NORTH-WESTERN HIMALAYAS - PROBLEMS, PROSPECTS AND FUTURE STRATEGIES
A vast stretch of harsh, inaccessible and arid temperate area (79,278 sq km) designated as Cold desert in the North-Western Himalayan region of India is located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and the Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi areas of Chamba District of Himachal Predesh. The economic growth of the inhabitants of this tribal area is hampered by a variety of biotic, abiotic, ecophysiological and geographical factors showing distinct signs of unsustainability. The natural springs and rivers freeze due to subzero temperatures (-10 to -35°C) from November to April. Repeated snowfall, high incidence of UV radiation, high diurnal temperature variation, negligible rainfall and high wind velocity (45-60 miles miles h-1) during winter are some of the main features of the climate of this region. The glacial melt serves as a source of irrigation during summer. The soils are shallow, sandy loam in texture, low in organic matter and neutral to alkaline in reaction. The fruit growing areas extends from 2000 m to 3200 m a.s.l., apple being the most dominant fruit crop of the tribal belts of Himachal Pradesh; while apricot in the Ladakh region, particularly for its dried products. The market value of fruits, particularly apple, apricot and almond produced from these cold desert areas, is almost double that of fruits produced from other temperate and sub-temperate parts of the country. The major proportion of high quality apples in India is produced only from the cold desert areas of Kinnaur and Spiti. To date the Delicious group of apple cultivars has dominated, with a recent trend towards spur type cultivars and color strains, whereas in apricot, Halman, Shakarpara, Charmagaz, Nari, Rakchey-Karpo, Kaisi and Suffaida are popular. Almond, walnut, wild apricot, pistachio and seabuckthorn are other important fruits of the region. The export quality fruits produced from this region are excellent in respect of colour, taste, shape and keeping quality. With the increasing global temperature and changing weather scenario the area under fruits is expanding rapidly with the addition of new areas towards higher altitudes.
Sharma, D.P. and Chauhan, J.S. (2008). POTENTIAL OF FRUIT GROWING IN COLD DESERT AREAS OF NORTH-WESTERN HIMALAYAS - PROBLEMS, PROSPECTS AND FUTURE STRATEGIES . Acta Hortic. 772, 175-178
climate, quality, cultivars, apple, apricot, nuts, dried fruit