Adopting Better Farming Methods Boosts Apple Growth Despite Challenges

Greg Howard
8th May, 2024

Adopting Better Farming Methods Boosts Apple Growth Despite Challenges

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Nepal's Dolpa, farmers are adopting good practices like weeding and intercropping for better apples
  • Farmers' adoption of these practices is influenced by factors like gender, experience, and household literacy
  • Challenges like limited access to inputs and transportation hinder apple production in the region
In the mountainous regions of western Nepal, where the landscape is as challenging as it is beautiful, apple farming stands as a vital economic activity. The Government of Nepal, recognizing the importance of this sector, has launched initiatives like the 'Fruits Decade 2016/17-2026/27' and the 'NepalGAP Scheme' to bolster apple production and improve its marketability. A recent study by the University of Tasmania[1] delves into the application of good agricultural practices (GAP) in Dolpa district, a prime apple-growing region, shedding light on the practices widely adopted by farmers, the factors influencing these practices, and the obstacles hindering production. Good agricultural practices are a set of principles applied to farming to achieve sustainable agriculture and provide safe and quality food. The study found that apple growers in Dolpa are keen on adopting GAPs like frequent weeding, which helps control unwanted plant species that compete with apple trees for resources; intercropping, where different crops are grown in proximity and can lead to more efficient use of land; and nutrient management, which ensures that apple trees receive the right balance of nutrients for optimal growth. Interestingly, the study's negative binomial regression—a statistical method that deals with count data and allows for instances of over-dispersion—revealed that certain household characteristics significantly influence the intensity of GAP adoption. These characteristics include the gender of the orchard owner, their experience in apple farming, and the number of literate members in the household. Literacy among household members is crucial as it likely increases the accessibility and understanding of GAP-related information. Despite the willingness to adopt GAP, apple production in Dolpa faces significant constraints. The problem severity index used in the study—a tool that ranks problems based on their perceived impact—indicated that the most pressing issues are limited access to necessary production inputs, like seeds and fertilizers, and transportation challenges. These barriers are critical as they can impede the delivery of produce to markets and restrict the flow of resources to the orchards. This research echoes findings from past studies, such as the one conducted in the Mustang district of Nepal[2], which also emphasized the role of socio-economic factors in the adoption of GAP. It highlighted the importance of occupation, age, land size, active population, institutional involvement, and availability of credit in influencing farming practices. Moreover, the significance of intercropping and nutrient management identified in the Mustang study aligns with the practices adopted in Dolpa. Furthermore, the study's focus on nutrient management resonates with the understanding that the nutritional content of apples, particularly in their peels, is of high value[3]. Previous research has shown that apple peels are a rich source of antioxidants and have the potential to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, emphasizing the importance of not discarding these valuable components during processing. This information can be leveraged to promote the consumption of whole apples and encourage practices that maintain the nutritional integrity of the fruit. The insights from the University of Tasmania's study are instrumental for policymakers and practitioners aiming to support the apple industry in Nepal. By addressing the identified constraints and fostering an environment conducive to the adoption of GAP, apple production in the western high hills can be optimized. This would not only benefit the local economy but also contribute to the overall health of consumers by providing access to apples that are grown sustainably and are rich in nutrients. In conclusion, the research contributes to a growing body of evidence that supports the adoption of good agricultural practices for the sustainable production of high-quality apples. It also highlights the critical role that socio-economic factors and infrastructure play in the adoption of these practices. By addressing these challenges, the potential of apple farming in regions like Dolpa can be fully realized, benefiting both the local communities and consumers at large.

AgricultureSustainabilityPlant Science


Main Study

1) Good agricultural practices (GAP) adoption intensity and production constraints in apple orchards of western Nepal.

Published 15th May, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Determinants of the adoption of different good agricultural practices (GAP) in the command area of PMAMP apple zone in Nepal: The case of Mustang district.

3) Antioxidant activity of apple peels.

Journal: Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, Issue: Vol 51, Issue 3, Jan 2003

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙