Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Processing and Marketing Corporation (HPMC) would import chloropicrin chemical, which is very useful in combating apple diseases, an official spokesman here said.
The state government has obtained necessary permission from the Central Insecticides Board, Union Ministry of Agriculture, for import of chloropicrin chemical along with machinery and equipments, he said.
HPMC would soon import the chemical from M/s Trinity Mfg, USA, for providing it to University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni for trials, he added.
A spokesperson of the Horticulture Department said that chloropicrin chemical would be used to combat serious problems of Specific Apple Replant Disease (SARD) and would go a long way in managing soil borne pathogens affecting other fruits, vegetables and floriculture crops.
The chemicals would be extremely helpful in treating the soil in poly-houses between crop cycles.
He said chloropicrin was the best chemical world over which had been an effective combatant in the war against SARD.
The chemical was so far not registered in India and thus could not be manufactured or imported from outside for use in soil treatment.
Keeping in view the importance of the chemical, necessary steps were initiated under ambitious Rs 1,134 crore World Bank funded HP Horticulture Development Project for getting the chemical registered in the country.
He said now the Union Government has given permission for import of chloropicrin, multi-locational trials would be conducted in Shimla, Solan and Kullu districts during current year, paving way for its registration in India.
This was one of the major initiatives by the state government which would especially benefit the apple growers of Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts where the orchards had become too old and senile and need immediate replacement with latest varieties and root stocks, he said.
The spokesperson said it had been a matter of concern for the farmers, extension officers and scientists that new plantations did not perform well owing to SARD that occurs when apple trees were planted in soil where similar species had been grown previously.
SARD was not only limited to apple trees but it also affects roses and a number of other fruit trees including cherry, citrus, peach, pear, plum and quince.