HRMN 99 is a self-pollinating apple variety that requires lesser chilling hours. Developed by a farmer from Himachal Pradesh, this variety is being cultivated in plain, tropical and subtropical regions across India, where temperature is often spiking to 40 to 45 degree Celsius. It was found that the HRMN-99 plants aging three to eight years produced 5 to 75 kg fruits per annum. These apples were bigger when compared with other varieties, with soft, sweet and juicy pulp.
National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has supported this variety’s registration under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, 2001 and its expansion in the other parts of India. Its commercial cultivation is underway in Manipur, Jammu, low-lying areas in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
In March 2017, a farmer from Bilaspur, Shri Hariman Sharma, was honoured at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, by the President of India, with a National Award. He also received multiple awards at the state and district levels, including from the then Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh. These awards were presented to him for his unique variety of apples that can be grown in plain, tropical and sub-tropical areas.
- The apple variety, named HRMN99, does not require any chilling hours for flowering and the setting of fruits. In 1999 he preserved an apple growing in warm climate at 1,800 feet above sea level, following which he grafted branches from the plant onto a plum tree. Subsequently, on successful grafting, he replicated the process using crab apple seedlings from Shimla, which eventually resulted in an orchard of apple trees.
- Some features of the HRMN99 variant are –
– Grow in low altitude at 1800 feet above sea level.
– Average yield is about 1 quintal per plant, for a 7 year old plant.
– Ready to harvest in early June (after about three years of transplanting).
– Tolerant to scab disease.
- To study the suitability of the variant in various agricultural and climatic conditions of the country, the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) transplanted about 10,000 saplings in 29 states and 5 Union Territories in the 2015-2017 period. Successful fruiting in several states and UTs led to an increase in demand by farmers for saplings of the variant.
- A molecular study of the variant for the characterization of the HRMN99 against other varities by the Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission in Gandhinagar, confirmed the diversity and superiority of the variant over other low ceiling varieties such as the Anna and Dorsett golden.
The NIF has also supported this variety’s registration under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, 2001 and its expansion in the other parts of India. Its commercial cultivation is underway in Manipur, Jammu, low-lying areas in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. The tremendous success of the HRMN99 variant earned Hariman Sharma the moniker, ‘Apple Man of India’ and brought him several awards at multiple levels.