Mustang farmers start drying apples

Rastriya Samachar Samiti

Tukuche, February 4

Apple farmers in the remote Mustang district have begun drying up apples into sliced pieces after facing difficulties in transporting fresh apples to the market in the absence of proper transportation facilities.e

Dried apple slices can be preserved for a longer period and is also easy and cheaper to be transported, say the farmers.

In this connection, a training for drying up fresh apples into sliced pieces using solar energy began at Tukuche VDC on Monday.

The three-day long training is being organised by the District Agriculture Development office, Mustang with support from Winrock International, a Kathmandu-based non-government organisation.

Altogether 25 apple farmers from the high producing Kagbeni, Jomsom, Marpha, Tukuche and Kobang VDCs are taking part in the training, run by a New Zealander Royedon Chesbus.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the training programme, Mustang DDC chairman Nirmal Kumar Gauchan and other speakers expressed confidence that the training would help farmers to utilise the apple crop, that was going waste in absence of transportation facilities so far.

Following successful completion of the training, the District Agriculture Development Office will be providing trainees with 17 solar dryers at 50 per cent price with free transportation.

According to the office, annual apple production in Mustang at present is 2,500 metric tonnes, out of which 1,300 usually rot due to problems related to transportation and the absence of any cold storage.

The new programme is bringing hope to local farmers that their hard work would not go down the drain.