Ground apple gaining ground in Nepal

Kathmandu, March 25: Many of us are familiar with apples that grow on tree. But there exists another Asian fruit called 'ground apple' that is gaining ground among the Nepali farmers of late.

The fruit, also known as Yacon, is believed to have entered Nepal from Japan since a decade ago.

Of late, this multi-purpose fruit is attracting a big number of farmers for its commercial farming given the high demand of this fruit in the market abroad, shared a farmer Rajaram Poudel who deals in this fruit.

"Although the main market of the ground apple is abroad, these days Nepalese consumers are also taking a great deal of interest in it," informed farmer Poudel.

He opines that not only farmers are interested in growing this fruit but also the health-conscious people in wake of this Japan-originated fruit in Nepal for it has medicinal value for the patients with diabetes and is useful in weight control.

Another farmer Hari Subedi shared that a plant can yield up to 18 kilogrammes of ground apple.

The ground apple, although evokes another variety of apple, ironically, it does not resemble the regular apple in shape nor taste. Rather this fruit looks like sweet-potato in shape and tastes sweet.

Subedi added that one kilogramme of ground apple is being sold for Rs 200 whereas this fruit is fetching double the regular selling price at tourists areas as Thamel, Bouddha and the like in Kathmandu. A sapling of ground apple costs as much as Rs 50.

It is suitable to cultivate in areas at an altitude of above 1,500 metres from the sea level.

As the commercial farming of this fruit could be started with a small capital and the demand is also increasing in the market, a growing number of farmers in Kathmandu and Ramechhap districts are growing ground apple, mentioned farmer Subedi.

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