Did you know Pakistan is considered the 10th largest producer of apples in the world? Baluchistan is the key contributor of apple production in Pakistan, whilst KPK stands 2nd in ranking, contributing to about 25% of national apple growth.
Apple is the most important fruit crop in the mountain regions of Pakistan. All the cultivated varieties belong to Malus Pumila. Apples are adapted to very diverse climatic conditions. They are grown on the plateau of Baluchistan, the middle to high mountains of KPK, Azad Kashmir, and Baluchistan. The plantation of improved varieties in planned orchards, in Swat and Mansehra and Quetta has played a vital role in the economy of the areas.
Out of the several local varieties such as Nas Kusho, Shin Kusho, Skiur Kusho, Mar Kusho, etc the Ambri Kusho found in the Skardu areas, is the best apple variety in terms of quality as well as perishability. In Gilgit and Hunza a large number of local varieties are grown. However, the most common and widespread varieties are Noor Shah Balt, Mamu Balt, Shakur Balt, Shikam Balt and Akbaraman Balt.
The Hunza and Skardu areas lie at altitudes of 2450m and above. The region is arid, dry and very cold. The minimum temperature during the winter ranges from -7 to -20C. The local apple varieties, evolved under these harsh climatic conditions are a good source for winter hardiness.