Adani procures apples from Himachal growers

August 14th, 2011 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 14 (IANS) Agro commodities trading house Adani Agrifresh, has entered the market to procure apples directly from growers in Himachal Pradesh, a company official said here.

“This year the target is to procure 18,000 metric tonnes and the procurement rate is around Rs.60 a kg for top quality apples, almost double that of last year,” Deputy General Manager Sanjay Mahajan told IANS.

This year’s price is Rs.29 more than that of last year. He attributed the rise in prices to a lean crop season.

According to official estimates, this year’s apple production in the state would be around 22.5 million boxes — about 50 percent less than last year’s bumper production of 44.5 million boxes.

But experts believe this year’s fruit would be more crisp, crunchy and juicy as there is sufficient moisture in the soil that would help the plant get sufficient nutrients.

Last year Adani procured 17,000 tonnes of apples despite bumper production.

“This year the procurement is really challenging due to less production,” Mahajan said Friday.

The company has three stores at Rampur, Sainj and Rohru in Shimla district. These stores have a storage capacity of 18,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, apple harvesting has picked up in the state except in Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts.

Gian Singh Chandel, chairman of the apple market committee at Dhalli near here, said a 20 kg box of superior grade variety of Royal Delicious was fetching Rs.1,500 to Rs.2,000 whereas a Rich-a-Red is getting around Rs.1,000.

“As on date, the prices are almost double than last year,” he added.

“The farmers are preferring to sell the produce in the Dhalli market rather than going to Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi as they are getting good prices,” said J.D. Chauhan, a grower from Nankhari in upper Shimla.

A large number of traders from other states are camping in various wholesale fruit markets in Himachal for procurement.

Officials of the horticulture department said till date 25 lakh crates have been sent out of the state.

“Every day on an average one lakh crates are going out of the state,” they said.

The best juicy apples in the country would start arriving from the Chango, Ribba and Namgiya valleys of Kinnaur and Hurling in Lahaul and Spiti by next month.

Himachal Pradesh is one of India’s major apple-producing regions with more than 90 percent of the produce going to the domestic market.

The state’s apple economy is pegged at around Rs.1,500 crore, with Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Chamba districts being the hubs.

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