AROUND THE WORLD FOR FRUITS, FRIENDS AND NEW EXPERIENCES
I started working on fruits in 1962. In this connection I travelled widely in India and all continents of the world. During this period I not only saw new fruits but also met a wide variety of people and had equaqlly wide variety of social and cultural experiences. I am going to share these with others in this blog.
मुझे १९८०-१९८१ में कुछ समय
बगदाद में बिताने का मौक़ा मिला था. मेरी नियुक्ति बग़दाद यूनिवर्सिटी में बतौर
असिस्टेंट प्रोफ़ेसर ऑफ़ होर्टीकल्चर हुई थी. मैं बग़दाद शहर में रहता था. मेरा फ़्लैट
बग़दाद की प्रसिद्ध सादून स्ट्रीट पर ही था. मेरी पत्नी और मेरी दोनों बेटियाँ भी
मेरे साथ थीं.
ये सद्दाम हुसैन के शासन के
प्रारंभिक दिन थे और उन दिनों ईराक एक बहुत ही समृद्ध देश था और वहां के हालात
बहुत ही अच्छे थे. एक बात जो वहां सबसे अच्छी थी वह थी लौ एंड ऑर्डर की स्थिति. क्राईम
बिलकुल नहीं था. हरेक नागरिक कानून का पालन करता था. अगर कोइ कानून तोड़ता तो उसे
पुलिसमैन उसी समय और वहीं सज़ा दे देता था. जैसे वहां अगर आप सड़क पर पैदल चल रहे
हों और आपको सड़क पार करनी हो तो यह आप ज़ेबरा क्रौस्सिंग पर ही कर सकते थे. बेशक
सड़क खाली भी हो. अगर आप यह नियम तोड़ रहे होते और पुलिस वाले की नज़र आप पर पड़ जाती
तो वह आपके पास आकर आपका चालान कर देता और आपको उसी समय पांच दीनार का जुर्माना
भरना पड़ जाता.
यह है बग़दाद की प्रसिद्ध रशीद स्ट्रीट, जहां आपको पैदल भी सड़क केवल ज़ेबरा क्रोस्सिंग पर ही पार करनी होती थी वरना सिपाही आपको पांच दीनार का जुर्माना कर देता था.
जब वहां ईरान ईराक वार शुरू
हुआ तो हालात बिगड़ने शुरू हो गए. एक दिन इरानी हवाई जहाज़ इराकी पावर हॉउस पर बम्ब
गिरा गए और बिजली की सारी सप्लाई बंद हो गयी. इस से सारी ज़िंदगी अस्त व्यस्त हो
गयी. एक दम मोमबत्तियों की मांग बढ़ गयी. मैं शाम को सादून स्ट्रीट पर घूम रहा था तो
वहां फुटपाथ पर एक आदमी मोमबत्तियां (अरबी में कंदील) बेच रहा था. उसके पास एक
टोकरी थी जिसमें कंदीलें भरी थी. उस आदमी के चारों ओर ग्राहकों की भीड़ लग गयी
क्योंकि हरेक आदमी ज़्यादा से ज़्यादा कंदीलें खरीदना चाहता था. यह सब चल ही रहा था
कि एक और आदमी वहां अचानक प्रगट हुआ और उसने कंदील बेचने वाले को लातों से बुरी
तरह मारना शुरू कर दिया. कंदील वाला बुरी तरह चिल्लाया और अपनी टोकरी उठा कर वहां
से भाग गया.
मैंने पास खड़े एक अरब से
पूछा के यह क्या माजरा है तो उसने मुझे बताया की कंदील का सरकारी भाव १५ फिल (1
दीनार = १००० फिल) है पर यह आदमी २५ फिल में बेच रहा था. हालांकि फिर भी लोग खुशी
से खरीद रहे थे पर यह सरकारी हुकम के खिलाफ था. लात मारने वाला सी आई डी का आदमी
था. जैसे ही उसने हुकम उदूली देखी, एक्शन ले लिया. ऐसे करवाया जाता है नियमों का
बग़दाद का प्रसिद्ध और सबसे सुन्दर बाज़ार सादून स्ट्रीट
जैसा कि यह उस वक्त हुआ करता था.
अगर मंडी शहर के फुटपाथ रोकने
वाले दुकानदारों या अन्य सार्वजनिक स्थानों पर अन्य कानून तोड़ने वालों के साथ भी ऐसा ही सलूक हो तो मजाल कि अपनी दूकान की हद से बाहर सामान
रख कर आने जाने वालों का रास्ता रोकने की हिम्मत करे.
पर वोट की सरकार में तो
सबकी सिफारिश है और सरकार का किसी को भी डर नहीं है.
कुछ बातों के लिए डिक्टेटरशिप अच्छी व्यस्था है. क्योंकि इस व्यवस्था में पब्लिक से क़ानून का पालन कराया जा सकता है. बग़दाद में सद्दाम हुसैन के कार्य काल में ऐसी कुछ बहुत अच्छी बातें भी थी. उनके किस्से आपको फिर कभी सुनाऊंगा.
basically a fruit of colder regions of the world and so in horticulture it is
categorized as a “temperate fruit”.It
is believed to have originated in or around Kazakhstan and hence Almaty, the
capital city of Kazakhstan is called as fatherland of apples.
With time, the popularity of this fruit
increased and its cultivation of spread to all the temperate regions of the
world.Soon, on account of various
reasons, apple became number one fruit of the temperate regions.
Gradually, people in lesser cold
regions, also became interested in growing apples in their areas.So efforts began among the horticultural
researchers to extend apple cultivation to less cold regions.Consequently, low chilling varieties of apple
like Rome Beauty, Vered, Anna, Dorsett Golden etc. were developed.These varieties can grow at those places
where the winter is less intense and of short duration too.But “some” winter is must for them and
without that their trees will not have normal growth and flowering after the
winter season was over.
In the mean time during the past 60-70
years, another development also took place.Some fruit enthusiasts in tropical countries also tried to grow apples
in their home gardens, possibly for fun sake or to have a tree or two of apples
in their fruit collections.At some of
these places, this fruit, which was so far known to grow only in cold regions,
also started growing and fruiting successfully. These were the areas which had
no winter season at all and where the minimum temperature never fell below 12 °
C during any part of the year and where the summers were also not very harsh.
One of such areas was Batu in Indonesia
which is situated almost at the Equator.This area, which is a district in Java island of Indonesia, has now
acquired the reputation of apple producing region where you see red as well as
green coloured apples being sold at all the village as well as roadside fruit
shops.And this happens all the year
round as every month of the year is apple season in Batu.You see apples orchards where apples and
bananas are growing together at the same place.This is a sight I would not have otherwise believed had I notseen it four years ago with my own eyes
during my visit to that area.
Apple growers of Batu take two crops in
year just like the grape farmers in some parts of South India.The most amazing part is that these people
have “tamed” their apple trees in such a manner that they harvest their crop at
time that suits them according to the market conditions.It is virtually “defiance” of nature.
I had gone there
on social visit to one of my ex-students who works therefor an Indonesian mushroom producing company
at Malang.In fact, I had gone on a
short vacation to Bali and had taken this trip from Denpasar.My stay at Malang was very short, only for
five days.But I got very much
interested in this “horticultural wonder” and talked to the local farmers and
tried to understand that how this all was happening.I also started thinking on the possibilities
of repeating it in some parts of South India where there is no winter season.
I was told that the apple cultivation in
that area was started nineteen fifties and the mooter of this revolutionary
idea was one Mr. J. Krieben, who was an “electrician” by profession with no
formal training in fruit growing.
Apple fruits in a Batu orchard
Apple and banana growing together at Batu, Indonesia
An apple tree at Tumkur, Karnataka.
Apple fruits at Somwarpet, karanataka. The picture was taken on
Jauray 30, 2014 1nd this tree was planted on January 2012.
HOW DOES IT
deciduous plants, apple tree also grows in phases.There are two phases of growth, active when
the plant flowers and bears fruits, and dormant, when it sheds its leaves and
stays dormant and apparently inactive for a few months.The dormant phase has probably created by
nature to protect the trees from the winter injury.
The two cycles have been wonderfully
designed by the nature and are controlled by complex hormone controlled
physiological processes taking place within the trees unnoticed by us.As the winter season starts approaching, production
of a set of hormones begins within the plant which initiates changes in the
plant body leading to leaf fall and then dormancy which desensitizes the tree
towards low temperature thus protecting it from the possible low temperature
injuries.As the days pass, the winter
sets in.Then the winter chilling
triggers the production of another set of hormones in the plant body which
start neutralizing the effects of the first set of dormancy inducing hormones
and the tree wakes up again and resumes its normal activities of the spring and
the following summer season.This cycle
continues throughout the life of apple but all other deciduous trees too.
Now if the tree (when young), at the
end of winter season, is removed from its place and then planted at a place
where the outside temperatures are favourable for its growth, it will sprout to
activity and will start growing.Now if
this “new place” is such where the outside environment is conducive for
vegetative growth, without any break during any part of the year, which is a
normal feature of tropical climate, this apple tree will get “confused” and
keep growing incessantly throughout the year without any
break.As there is no winter or
“prewinter” like season so the formation dormancy inducing hormones within the
plant body will not be initiated.Therefore it will not become dormant.As there is “no dormancy,” so there will be “no need” for any winter
chilling to break the dormancy.In fact
this tree will turn “evergreen” like all other trees at its new habitat.
It may also be noted that the “chilling
requirement” of the variety will also not matter at this
place.It will not make any difference
in their growth whether the apple varieties are “high chilling” or “low
chilling”.Once the chilling requirement
has been met at the place of their origin (nursery), there will be no further
need for chilling.
That is how it happened at Batu and the
few other similar places.The trees were
taken from nurseries in apple areas at the end of winter season.They had already met their annual chilling
requirement at the nursery site at that time.So when planted at the new place, they started growing and as there was
no winter season to retard or stop their growth, so they just kept growing and
MY EXPERIENCE IN
apples being successfully cultivated at a warm place like Batu, idea struck my
mind that if this could be achieved in India, it might revolutionize apple
orcharding there.In many parts of South
India, there are areas which do not experience any winter and the temperatures
there do not fall below 12°C during winter months and therefore chance of trees
entering dormancy were not there.In
India, apples are grown only in the hills of North India and this area is not
enough to meet the requirement of apples of the whole country.Secondly, the average annual apple production
in India currently was 6.5 tons/ha.This
could easily be doubled by taking two crops in a year.
So I wrote letters to some people and
also got an article published in a Kannada language farming magazine, telling
them about the possibilities of apple growing in some parts of Karnataka
state.Many people evinced interest and
later at my suggestion formed a small group under the leadership of Mr. Krishna
Shetty, an ex-banker turned farmer at Mangalore.In January, 2011, I sent Mr. Shetty a bundle
of 300 apple plants of assorted self-fruitful cultivars raised on seedling
rootstock.Mr. Shetty distributed these
plants to 19 farmers from different locations in Karnataka State of India.We started waiting for the outcome,
particularly the performance of these trees after October when winter usually
starts in India.We got feedback from
many places that the trees had not shed their leaves and kept growing
incessantly like other trees.
Then came the report that at some places, the
trees had even flowered in the second year of their orchard life which was very
unusual, rather unheard, as these plants are raised on seedling rootstock which
take 5-6 years in India to put forth first flowers.Some trees had even set the fruits.Then in March 2013, I received e-mail
containing pictures of a tree at Tumkur, 70 km from Bangalore, which had
attained a height of 12 feet in just two years and was also bearing
This was very exciting news for
me.It indicated that the idea had
worked and there were bright possibilities of apple cultivation in tropical
India on the lines of Batu.So I also
decided to visit the places and observe the trees personally.I had never gone there before.I spent five days from 20 to 24 April, 2011
and visited several places between Mangalore to Bangalore, had a look at some
of the trees planted in and after January 2011, and reached at the conclusion
that it was possible to grow apple trees, irrespective of their chilling
requirement, in warmer tropics provided:
planted at their new site in 2-3 days.
·the “new site”
has no winter season and the temperature there does not fall below 12 C in any
part of the year.
·the summer is
also not too harsh to affect the growth of apple plants adversely.The temperature should ideally remain below
WHAT ELSE IS
EXPECTED TO HAPPEN?
growth will be much faster and the trees may attain a much larger size than is
usually under normal apple areas.So it
will have to be taken care of.Spur type
varieties or plants propagated on dwarfing rootstocks may offer a solution.
protection problems may arise and a suitable solution will have to be found for
3.As the apple
trees will now be growing under new conditions with a changed behavior
(deciduous to evergreen), so the earlier production technology of temperate
zone will not be applicable.Depending
upon their behavior in the new environment, a new package of cultivation
practices will have to be developed.
It may take a
decade or even more for standardizing the whole process but it is possible to
do it.A padre from France had
experimented like this with grapes in tropical Southern West India 200 years
ago.And now, we have a large grape
producing area with the highest production of grapes in the world. Wine
companies from France have now come there for sourcing locally produced wine
and then sell it under their brand names.