The Sopore area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district popularly known as Apple Tower in Jammu and Kashmir is now becoming a Kiwi stronghold. Many farmers in the city of Sopore have started a new tradition in the area by starting the cultivation of kiwi.
Kiwi farming in Kashmir
The results of the Kiwi harvest are giving very good results. In the year 1987, as an experiment, a person planted kiwi plants, in many areas of Kashmir; the State Government Horticulture Department established nurseries as well. Kiwi plants are being prepared in nurseries in Patan, Baramulla, and Uri.
Farmers have planted kiwifruit plantations in many areas of North Kashmir. If we talk about the production of kiwi from a small farm of a farmer, then it grows up to 300 boxes of kiwi per year. If there are 100 kiwi plants in a nursery, then more than two hundred and fifty boxes of kiwi are prepared.
“We have been producing a good amount of fruit with less investment,” said one farmer, Bashir Ahmad, adding he brought kiwi plants from Himachal Pardesh three years ago, planted them in his orchard and got the yield.
Bashir said, ‘I knew nothing about kiwi and came to know that it is being grown in New Zealand. They have named this fruit after their national bird “Kiwi”. My interest developed to grow this fruit. I searched the internet and found information about Kiwi cultivation.”
Bashir said that during his visit to Dubai he saw kiwis being sold in the markets. He thought that he too could grow it in his garden. He said that after coming back from this trip, he took advice from agriculture and horticulture experts and planted a kiwi plant in his orchard.
Bashir said, “Kashmir produces nearly 80 per cent of apples, but for the past few years, farmers have not been able to get reasonable prices for their apples”.
Kiwi is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Helps control cholesterol and contain high fever. The fruit reaches a good price in the market. The plant is fully grown at the age of five and begins to bear fruit. When fully grown, a plant can bear 1,000 to 1,200 fruits (approximately) a year with an average price of Rs 20 per piece.
- Green kiwis need between 600-800 hours of cold and yellow varieties between 300-400 hours of cold.
- They withstand temperatures of more than -10 degrees during the winter.
- Spring frosts, once flowering has begun, damage the flower.
- A low relative humidity below 60% dries out the flowers.
- Plant defoliation and foliar burns occur with temperatures above 35ºC.
- They need irrigation in the seasons when the rainfall is not high.
Kiwi nutritional properties
It is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants: Green kiwis contain more vitamin C than an orange and twice as much as a lemon and yellow kiwis are up to three times more than a lemon. Remember that vitamin C helps the normal functioning of the immune system and also protects our cells from oxidation. The consumption of two medium kiwis covers the daily needs of an adult of vitamin C.
Kiwi facilitates digestion: By having a large amount of fiber, and also being the only fruit that contains actinidin, a soluble protein enzyme, it helps us direct the proteins from meat, dairy and soy, stimulating the digestive process.
It is rich in fiber: Kiwifruit favours intestinal transit and it is recommended to include it in the daily diet.
Kiwi is low in calories: It is a fruit with a low caloric intake, only 57 Kcal/100 g. That is why it is highly recommended for all types of diets, due to its large amount of water and being low in fat and saturated fat.
Kiwi is a natural source of folic acid: For women in their pregnancy, it is highly recommended because this vitamin B9 contributes to the growth of maternal tissues during pregnancy.
It has a low glycemic index: Kiwis have a low glycemic index (GI), so the body does not assimilate carbohydrates as quickly and glucose is only partially released into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
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