Hyderabad: Kendre Balaji, a farmer from Kumaram Bheem Asifabad district gifted from his first crop of apples to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday. Balaji is one of the first farmers to have commercially cultivated apples in the State. He presented a box of his produce along with an apple sapling to the Chief Minister at Pragathi Bhavan on the occasion of Telangana Formation Day. Rao congratulated Balaji for producing apples in Telangana.
The 37-year-old Balaji was determined to prove that anything can be grown in the soil of Telangana. So he cultivated HRMN 99 apples on a two-acre land in Dhanora village in Kerameri mandal in Kumaram Bheem Asifabad district.
After four years of untiring efforts, Balaji has succeeded in replicating famed apple orchards of Kashmir on a three acre field in the remote village of Dhanora in Kerameri area of K.M. Asifabad district, earlier a part of Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra.
Balaji, whose parents had migrated to Telangana from the neighbouring state, is not a traditional farmer. A Class 12 dropout, always wants to try new things.
“Four years ago, a thought came to my mind. Why not grow apples here. People laughed at me but I started working on it and found that a variety of apples is grown in a region in Himachal Pradesh where the maximum temperature touches 40 degrees,” said Balaji, who also received the best farmer award from the Telangana government in 2017.
He also received the help and guidance from agriculture scientists of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB).
Meanwhile, the number of trees grew to 400 and this year he had his first crop of HR-99 variety apples.
The varieties like HRMN-99, Anna from Israel, Dorset golden from U.K are heat resistant and warm climate growing varieties. Hence it has now become possible to grow Apple crop in Telangana State.