An overview of some of our past events is as under:
Projects
Panghumas Orchards
Shimla HIlls, Nandpur, H.P.
INDIA  PIN -171206
email
info@ecohorts.org
1. Project Title: Expert support for orchard management in the Himalayan region.

Resource persons           

  • Mr. Milton J Schilde, Farm Management Expert, USA.
  • Mr. Amos B. Bourgo,  Farm Management Expert, USA.
  • Dr. Y.S. Negi, Resource Economist, Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan,
    Himachal Pradesh, India.
  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).

Objectives

  • To promote adoption of integrated fruit production principles in temperate fruit production (apples,
    pears, cherries, almonds and kiwi fruit).
  • To provide assistant to the fruit growers to solve their specific problems related to diseases and
    insect-pests; soil, water and nutrient management.

Activities

Ecohorts organised four training camps in the apple growing pockets of Shimla, Hills, Himachal
Pradesh, India during November-December, 1998.  The programme provided direct assistance and
training to fifty Indian agri-entrepreneur farmers and extension workers to adopt integrated fruit production
principles in apples and pears.  The resource persons interacted with the community group including the
local farmers, scientists, extension workers, government officials from State Horticulture Department and
the Ministry of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh.  Latter, the recommendations and future strategies were
discussed with the Minister of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh and Director of Horticulture, H.P. State
Department of Horticulture.  They assured and latter incorporated the recommendations made by
Ecohorts in the official extension bulletins for adoption by the fruit growers of the state.

2. Project Title: Expert Support for improving technique in apple orchard  
management and  integrated pest management (IPM).

Resource persons

  • Dr. Donn T. Johnson, Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Arkansas,USA.
  • Mr. Guy King Ames, Technical Specialist, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas,
    Fayetteville, U.S.A.
  • Mr. Govind Jhobta, Horticulture Development Officer, Progeny-cum-Demonstration Orchard,
    Department of Horticulture, Govt. Of Himachal Pradesh, Anu, H.P. India.
  • Dr. S.P. Bhardwaj, Associate Director, Regional Horticultural Research Station, Mashobra,
    Shimla, India.
  • Dr. Sushma Bhardwaj, Assistant Scientist (Entomology), Regional Horticultural Research Station,
    Mashobra, Shimla, India.
  • Dr. J.N. Sharma, Plant Pathologist, Apple Scab Lab, University of Horticulture and Forestry,
    Kotkhai, Shimla, India.
  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman, Himalayan Eco Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).

Objectives

  • Provide assistance to improve management practices in apple orchards.
  • To make farmers aware of the benefits of bio-control of insect-pests to reduce the chemical
    inputs in apple farming.

Activities

Ecohorts organized seven farmer training camps during May-June, 1999 in the apple growing pockets of
Himalayan region.  Nearly 235 growers participated in these trainings.  The growers were briefed about
integrated pest and orchard management in apples.  The experts from USA and Ecohorts consultants
visited the apple orchards in Himachal Pradesh and provided solutions to the specific problems of fruit
growers.  Scientists from State department of Horticulture and University of Horticulture and Forestry,
Solan, H.P., India and officials from the Ministry of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh were invited to review
their past findings and strategies and to develop outline for future strategies for sustainable apple
production.

3. Project Title: Expert support on establishment and management of apple
orchards in Himachal Pradesh and the newly formed  hill state Uttaranchal.

Resource Persons

  • Mr. A. Nagel, Advisor on temperate fruit production, The Netherlands.
  • Dr. K.D. Verma, Former Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, University of
    Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, H.P, India, presently chief consultant Ecohorts.
  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman, Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).

Objectives

  • To provide assistance in training and pruning of standard and spur type apples which were
    introduced in Himachal Pradesh from USA during 1989-90.
  • To provide assistance in establishment and management of apple orchards in the newly formed
    hill state Uttaranchal where apple industry is not well developed.

Activities

In Himachal Pradesh, Ecohorts organised three training camps during March, 2003 where the
orchardists were given a hands-on training on training and pruning of standard and spur type apple;
Calibration of power sprayers for efficient coverage of tree canopy for better pest control.  Mr. Nagel the
NMCP, Advisor, from Holland gave practical demonstrations on how to develop frame work in apple
plants in initial years of plantation so as to develop a Pyramid system for maximum light interception in
bush orchards for high and good quality yield.

In the apple growing areas of Naugaon-Purola in Uttarkashi district of Uttaranchal.  Mr. Shri Raj Pachola,  
Sr. Horticulture Inspector, Uttaranchal State Horticulture Department organised a farmer training camp in
March, 2003. Mr. A. Nagel, Dr. K.D. Verma and Mr. Lakshman Thakur briefed the farmers on the
establishment of apple orchards, training and pruning, pollination management and insect-pest
management.  The Ecohorts team and Mr. Nagel discussed the future strategies for apple production
with the Joint Secretary (Horticulture), Uttaranchal government.  The Ecohorts team also discussed the
status and strategies of apple growing with H.E. Governor of  Uttaranchal.  Hon’ble Governor desired
more collaborations with Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts) in such programmes.

4. Project Title : Feasibility of Kiwi fruit production in the mid hills of Himalayan
Region.

Resource Persons

  • Dr. K.D. Verma, Former Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, University of
    Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, H.P, India, presently chief consultant Ecohorts.
  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman, Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).
  • M.B.A students.

Project Description

Kiwi fruit was recommended for commercial cultivation in Himachal Pradesh, India during late 1980s’.
The Ecohorts utilized the services of MBA professionals to study the feasibility of this new crop in the mid-
hills of Himachal Pradesh.  The study involved the collection and analysis of data regarding the cost of
establishment (Fixed costs), marginal costs and returns from vineyards of different age groups.  Finally
the feasibility of kiwi fruit enterprise for marginal and small farmers of the Himalayan region was
ascertained as the average land holdings in these areas is less than two hectares.  The report was
submitted to the Chairman, SRF group of companies and the H.P. State department of Horticulture for
recommendations.

5. Project Title : To provide Bee-Keeping Training to Rural Youth.

Resource Persons

  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman, Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).

Project Description

In the apple growing Himalayan region, beekeeping can become a subsidiary enterprise as the fruit
growers require honey bees for apple cross pollination.  Few fruit growers have their own Apis Cerana
colonies; the rest of the growers in the entire Himalayan region depend on wild pollinators. Over the
years, the population of honey bees and other pollinators has declined due to indiscriminate use of
pesticides.  Placement of honeybees in the orchards have also not picked up due to non-availability of
bee hives.  All these factors contributed to low fruit set and low yields in the apple orchards.

Keeping this in view a group of rural youth was trained by Ecohorts volunteers to take-up beekeeping as
a profession.  These people were trained to handle and manage Apis Mellifera colonies as this Italian
bee yields more honey and is a very good pollinator of apple.  The Ecohorts consultants also briefed the
farmers on the selection of insecticides and spray timings to reduce the bee killing.  Now, some of the
local youth have taken beekeeping as a profession and they are making good money by selling honey,
supplying honey bee colonies to fruit growers on rental basis and selling other by products.

6. Project Title: To Study the Impact of Foreign Apple Imports on the Apple
Industry in India.

Resource Persons

  • Mr. Lakshman Thakur, Chairman, Himalayan Eco-Horticulture Society (Ecohorts).

Project Description

With the signing of WTO and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreements, the international scenario is
rapidly changing.  Many European countries, USA, Australia and New Zealand are exporting their apples
to Indian markets.  In India, the apples are being grown on hilly Himalayan regions, therefore, the cost of
production is very high due to lack of mechanization.  The Ecohorts volunteers conducted a Apple
marketing survey of the markets in Delhi during May to July, 1999 to study the impact of foreign apples on
the Indian apple industry.  The report was submitted to the Ministry of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh,
India and was published in an English daily ‘The Tribune’ on 29th July, 1999.