Himachal Pradesh sees less apple production this year

The apple season in Himachal Pradesh has almost come to an end with the total production around 20 per cent less than the normal of 2.50 crore boxes of 20 kg each, an official said here on Saturday.

“The apple season has been over in the state with the harvesting of 2.04 crore boxes,” horticulture director Gurdev Singh said.

He said this season the production was higher than the last year’s production of 1.4 crore boxes.

“The prices were comparatively higher than the last year, when the state had lean crop,” he added.

Traders in the Dhalli apple market near here said the apple stored by some of the farmers is coming to the market.

“We are daily getting 100 to 150 boxes of apples against 1,000 boxes a day. Most of the apple is now coming from Kinnaur district only,” apple supplier Pratap Chauhan said.

Kinnauri apples, known across the world for their natural sweetness, colour and juiciness, normally start arriving in the market in October when the apple crop ends in other parts of the state, said the traders.

Agro commodities trading house Adani Agrifresh has procured 16,300 tonnes of apples in the state this season.

“This year, we procured 16,300 tonnes against the target of 22,000 tonnes,” deputy general manager Sanjay Mahajan said.

Last year, the company procured 6,000 tonnes.

Mahajan said most of the apple crop was undersize and even the fruit had not attained the true colour this season.

Horticulture department officials say scanty rainfall in the apple belts of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur and Chamba districts when the fruit was in development stage in May and June hit the crop badly.

They said later the prolonged heavy rain during the monsoon caused heavy premature dropping of fruit.

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