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Establishment of apple as an appealing cash crop in Sri Lanka: need, challenges, and opportunities

Authors:

W. M. D. A. Wijesundara,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About W. M. D. A.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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N. D. U. S. Nakandala,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About N. D. U. S.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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W. W. M. U. K. Wijesundara,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About W. W. M. U. K.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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P. W. I. Navanjana,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About P. W. I.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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L. T. Ranaweera,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About L. T.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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H. S. M. Jayarathne,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About H. S. M.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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P. G. R. G. Rathanayake,

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About P. G. R. G.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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C. K. Weebadde,

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, US
About C. K.
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
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W. A. R. T. Wickkramaarachchi,

Department of Agriculture, Canada Friendship Road, Katunayake, LK
About W. A. R. T.
National Plant Quarantine Service
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S. D. S. S. Sooriyapathirana

University of Peradeniya, 20400, Peradeniya, LK
About S. D. S. S.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science
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Abstract

The demand for apple is higher than other fruits in Sri Lanka, and the total of the requirement is achieved through imports causing a massive economic expenditure. A few low-performing apple trees can be seen in local upcountry regions. However, the feasibility of growing apple in Sri Lanka has not received any attention. The present study was conducted to (1) to assess the quantity imported and the costs associated with importing to Sri Lanka using the statistics available in the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS), and (2) observe currently growing apple trees to identify the status of production and their S-allele genotypes to understand whether pollination is likely among the trees. It was further examined the climatic conditions of agro-ecological regions in Sri Lanka to identify suitable areas for apple growing. Nearly 25,000 metric tons of apples are annually imported to Sri Lanka costing USD 32.2 million, a burden to the economy. The apple trees cultivated in Sri Lanka perform well below the standards, and the application of the standard agronomic practices is seldom noticed. We found through PCR and restriction digestion that the trees do not have self-compatible genotypes for pollination. However, the observed apple trees undergo flowering and fruiting at the substandard level implying that local apple production is possible. Apple trees can be grown anywhere in the tropics; however, the best quality apples can be achieved only under the conditions available in up and mid countries of wet and intermediate zones especially in agroecological regions WU1, WU2a, WU2b and WU3. In world-wide information sources, many apple cultivars such as Anna, Dorsett-Golden, and Wambugu are listed for tropical environments. As James Taylor started tea plantations in 1867, on which Sri Lanka became the world leader in tea production, a dedicated scientific effort must be made to establish an apple industry in Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: Wijesundara, W. M. D. A., Nakandala, N. D. U. S., Wijesundara, W. W. M. U. K., Navanjana, P. W. I., Ranaweera, L. T., Jayarathne, H. S. M., … Sooriyapathirana, S. D. S. S. (2020). Establishment of apple as an appealing cash crop in Sri Lanka: need, challenges, and opportunities. Ceylon Journal of Science, 49(4), 409–421. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjs.v49i4.7821
Published on 24 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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