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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Seeing extreme poverty after the China war, apple farming changed the picture, a family here earns up to 2.5 million a year

  • How did Harshil village in Uttarakhand, near China, become the most prosperous when trade with China stopped in 1962?
Uttarkashi. Harshil village in Uttarakhand is situated at the foot of the river Bhagir on the Chinese border. After the people here saw extreme poverty after the Sino-Indian war in 1962, the youth changed their fortunes by setting up apple orchards in inaccessible hills. Today, every family in the 8 villages of the region is involved in the apple trade.

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 There are apple orchards in 10 thousand acres. Which produces 20,500 metric tons. It contains one and a half lakh boxes of the best quality golden, red delicious apples. It has sold over 100 million copies in various markets, including the United States. Even a small apple farmer in this village earns Rs 5 lakh annually. There are also many who earn up to Rs 25 lakh by selling apples at home and abroad.

Sachendra Panwar, a farmer from Darali village, says that for hundreds of years, his ancestors made a living by raising animals and selling woolen clothes. Trade ceased after the Sino-Indian war. Then there was extreme poverty in the whole area. Another farmer, Madhavendra, says the area was hit by severe floods in 1978. At that time some people were growing apples to eat themselves.

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But those who were financially bankrupt after the floods saw that Ramsinh's apples from Zala village were bought by the Indian Army for Rs 10,000. This was a large sum at the time. There was a lot of discussion about this deal. Today this is the richest area of ​​the state. Our children are studying in a school in North Kashi. Somesh Semwal of Mukhwa village says he has a machine for making chips from apples in his house. Only 30 per cent of apples are bought by tourists from the village. Here men and women are seen spinning.

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A British Army officer started farming

Frederick Wills, a British Army officer, started cultivating apples in this belt long before independence. He is also known as Pahadi Wilson in Uttarakhand.


In 1925 he established apple orchards of Golden Delicious and Red Delicious varieties. Herschel and the surrounding population have been cultivating it since 1960. Wilson is also described in Robert Hutchinson's book The King of Herschel.

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