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HORTICULTURE ECONOMY OF ZANDRA: APPLE ECONOMY

Posted by Connie R. Aponte on November 12, 2013 in Capitalist Economies |

According to 1998 census the total area of Zandra is 1229 acres; out of which 669 acres are under roads, graveyards, residential area, mountains, karezes (underground water channels) etc. Out of the remaining 560 acres, 367 acres are under apple orchard, and 193 acres remain uncultivated. In 1986 the area under apple orchard was 227 acres. Reportedly, special efforts were made by the villagers at individual level to expand the area under fruit orchards by preparing and converting their uncultivated land into orchards. Everybody in the village, who has a piece of land, has planted apple trees. So apple is cultivated in all 367 acres of land. Some farmers have also planted other fruit trees in the same orchards i.e. cherry, apricot, peaches and almonds etc. The ratio between apple and other fruits is 95%:5% respectively.

Since the middle of 20th century, the village economy has undergone a transition. Initially it was based on horticulture only with apple as the main source of income, but over the years the population has outgrown the farming resources. Landholdings have reduced and hence the majority, apart from providing services to the orchards, during the season, has taken up other non-agricultural activities like different businesses and employment in public and private sector to earn additional income. In order to further supplement domestic income, the women folk have also started producing home based handicrafts like crochet work, embroidery, stitching etc. besides the household chores. Women are also working – mostly as teachers and some others as lady health workers (LHWs), lady health visitors (LHVs) lady doctors etc. but they are very few in numbers.

In spite of these changes apple is still the main source of income for majority of the people in the village. The natives mostly depend upon the income from the orchards. Apple trees bear fruit only once a year during April – August. Thus, the people, who solely depend on the apple production can only earn once a year. The big landholders can easily spend whole year on the orchard income. An average annual income per acre is Rs.300000 to 400000.

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