September 19: Farmers of Mustang have started picking apples from Monday.
Apple are grown in orchards of Marfa, Tukuche, Kagbeni, Muktinath, Zhong, Chusang, Chaile and other places in the district.
The orchards of Marfa and Tukuche, which are also called the capital of apples, are full of apples at present.
The farmers have started preparations to pick the apples and send them to the market as the apples have now ripened.
Sushilbabu Thakali, a local of Mustang, said that apple picking has started in Mustang from Monday.
Deep Lalchan, an apple farmer of Marfa, said that in the previous years, farmers used to start picking apples from the first week of September.
This year, farmers were allowed to pick apples only in the third week of September after the apples ripened following complaints in the past that apples plucked before ripening were of poor quality.
The local farmers said that traders from outside the district along with local traders have reached the apple orchards to buy apples.
In order to buy the apples grown by the farmers of Mustang, the traders sign contract the owners of the entire apple orchard. Traders from Dhading, Kathmandu and other places came to Mustang to buy apples.
Farmer Lalchan said that traders from Pokhara, Chiwatan and other places along with the neighboring district of Myagdi are coming to buy apples.
The locals are involved in commercial farming of apples in more than 1,200 hectares of land in Mustang. The district produces around 6,000 metric tons of apples annually.
Apples of different varieties including golden apples, royal apples and delicious red apples, and Fuji apples are produced in Mustang. High quality Italian varieties of apples are also being planted in Mustang.
Apples produced in Mustang reach the Nepalese and foreign markets including Baglung, Kushma, Pokhara, Kathmandu, Narayangadh, Butwal and Bhairahawa through Benibazar, the headquarters of Myagdi.