Dehradun: Even though the monsoon has brought a smile to many faces in Uttarakhand popularly known as ‘Devbhoomi’, the apple orchard-owners in the state are a worried lot due to hailstorm. The hailstorm has also played a party pooper for the Horticulture Department which had pinned high hopes on branding the `Uttarakhandi Apple’ in the national and international market.

The condition is such that the production of 50,000 meteric ton apples this season is also doubtful. Even though the state had apprised the Centre of its condition, the farmers have not yet got any respite.

However, the state government has already started preparations for the next season. Even after facing the brunt of bad weather in the last season, the state had managed to produce 1.13lakh metric ton in an area of 32,000 hectare of land.

In the beginning of the season this year, the weather was favourable and the flowering was also good. While the farmers dreamt of hefty earnings, the Horticulture department had also thought of the branding ‘Uttarakhandi Apple.’ The state witnessed a large scale premature leaf fall in the apple-laden trees due to the hailstorm and ghastly winds in May-June. As a result, apple crop worth crores was ruined in the state.

GS Pandey, Under Secretary and Director, Horticulture department said, “The hailstorm and the stormy winds have destroyed the apple crop and hence in order to face the problem in the next season, we will encourage the use of Anti Hail Net and look for other methods.”

The condition of the orchard-owners of the UttarKashi, Chamoli, Pithoragargh, Nanital, Dehradun is the same.