Apple of his eye by Krishnamaya Upadhayay

APPLE OF HIS EYE: Lokdarshan Shrestha, 63-year, is an apple farmer and he is excited about apple harvest this year. “Other farmers are worried that their apples will rot as they won’t sell, but I am not worried,” says Shrestha, “My apples will sell, I am confident.”

Shrestha has a family of nine including seven daughters, one of whom is an agricultural officer. “I have an expert at home, she has trained me well on how to protect apples at home,” says Shrestha. Shrestha rents 10,000 square meters of land and has 3,500 apple trees. He is expected to produce up to 20 metric tonnes of apples in his orchard this year and earn around Rs. 2 million.

Jumla has been producing Royal, Delicious, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, Red Chip, Zeromond and Gala varieties since 1981 but cold storage has always been a problem. Shrestha has now signed an agreement with a cold storage facility in Nepalgunj, which means he can sell the apples for a long time. Additionally, the Fuji apples, which Shrestha’s orchard produces, can be left in the tree until September and then stored for another year. Shrestha has also diversified and planted beans along with his apple trees. “Always have Plan B if Plan A fails, if the apples don’t make it to the market, I still have beans to keep me safe,” says Shrestha.

Text and photos: Krishnamaya Upadhayay @purnimashahi572020

Copy edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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