Apple production in Himachal Pradesh is likely to more than double this year to 2.5 crore boxes from about one crore boxes last year, traders and farmers say. `The apple harvest, which began in July in Himachal Pradesh, indicates production to be in the range of 2.5 crore boxes (6 lakh tons),` apple trading firm Dev Bhumi Cold Chain`s Director Anil Dwivedi told PTI.
He said his firm targets to procure 2,000 tons apple as export potential is also there. `We will send our first consignment to UAE by next week as we have received orders for five containers,` he said. But, farmers in the Shimla region are disappointed with the level of procurement from private companies.
`Most of the companies like Adani and Container Corporation of India (CCI) are procuring from Kinnaur,` apple farmer Prakash Thakur said. Private companies have told us that they have finished their procurement target in Shimla. Thakur said apple prices in the Shimla region fell to Rs 400 for a box of 24 kg this year, compared to Rs 750 per box last year.
The `B` grade apple are being sold at Rs 250 a box as against Rs 400 last year, he added. Dwivedi said the `deep red` coloured apple from Kinnaur fetches higher price than those produced in the Shimla region.
Meanwhile, Horticulture Minister Singhi Ram said in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, that over 1.4 crore apple boxes have been transported to different markets of the country so far from apple growing areas of the state.