India-International Cherry Blossom Festival of Shillong cancelled

Every year the cherry blossom festival is hosted by Meghalaya in the starting of November. This year the festival has been cancelled due to covid-19. It is the only Cherry festival being conducted in India.

The India International Cherry blossom festival is organised by the Government of Meghalaya every year. The festival hosts live music, stalls showcasing the cuisine, beauty pageants, etc.

Cherry blossom festival is a national festival of Michigan. It is celebrated in Japan as well.

Cherry production in India

India is the 26th largest producer of cherry in the world. The top three producers of cherry are Turkey, USA and Iran. Cherry in India was introduced from Europe before India’s independence. On the other hand, the commercial sour Cherry was introduced from United States of America.  The other varieties of cherry were introduced from British Columbia.

In India, cherry is commercially cultivated in Jammu and Kashmir where the hail storm problem is not encountered. The Cherry productivity in Jammu and Kashmir is 1.73 tons per hectare.

Cherry cultivation

Cherries require cold climatic conditions. They grow well at height of 2500 metres above sea level. It requires 100 to 125 CM of annual rainfall. Cherry is required for sandy loam soil with high moisture holding capacity. They are sensitive to water stagnation.

Why is commercial Cherry cultivation less in Meghalaya as compared to J&K?

The cherry blossom trees in Meghalaya are different from the cherry trees in the regions of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The cherry tree that are producing best flowers frequently have insignificant fruits. The trees with the most delicious taste have less emphasis on flowers. Thus, the cherries in the Northern part of India are used for commercial cultivation and those in the North Eastern parts are used to promote tourism.

Also, the cherries require 1200-1500 hours of chill climate. This requisite cannot be achieved in Meghalaya.

However, a popular underutilised cherry fruit is grown in Meghalaya called the SOHIONG.

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