Apple prices soar as Himachal attracts buyers from other states

August 3rd, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, Aug 3 (IANS) The arrival of buyers from places as far away as Gujarat, Maharashtra and even Nepal have sent the prices of apples soaring in Himachal Pradesh. A large number of apple traders have been camping in various wholesale fruit markets in the hill state for the past week.

Partap Singh Kairon, president of the fruit market association, told IANS local markets at Dhalli, Narkanda, Rohru, Solan and Parwanoo towns have attracted the most buyers from outside the state.

With their arrival, the price of the royal delicious variety at the Dhalli wholesale fruit market, about 10 km from here, has increased by Rs.200-Rs.250 per box, while that of rich-a-red by Rs.100-150 per box. A 20 kg box of royal delicious apples was selling at Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,050 Friday, while last week it was around Rs.800. Similarly, the rate of rich-a-red variety was between Rs.700 and Rs.750 per box.

Shakur Abdullah, a Pune-based trader, said: “We are procuring 1,000 to 1,500 boxes of high variety apples from Dhalli every day. We are sending these boxes to various cities in Maharashtra, where the demand is quite high.”

The prices of some of the early varieties of the season like red gold, summer green and red June from Rohru, Theog and Chopal areas in Shimla district, though inferior in quality, have also gone up by Rs.350 to Rs.500 per box.

Kairon said two million boxes have been exported to various destinations like New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mumbai and Bangalore from the Dhalli market. According to him, around 230 apple-laden trucks move out of the state everyday.

Thakur Singh, an agent from Nepal, says so far he has procured 10,000 boxes of early varieties of apple from Narkanda and Rohru markets as these are in demand in apple processing units there. .

For the second successive year, Himachal Pradesh - known as the fruit bowl of the country - is heading towards a bumper crop. The state horticulture department has estimated that this season the total yield could be up to 25 million boxes. However, it will be about four million boxes less than last year’s record production of 29.2 million boxes.

The arrival of the best quality apple in the country from the Chango, Ribba and Namgiya valley of Kinnaur and Hurling in the Spiti subdivision is yet to reach the markets. They will be plucked between late August and early September.

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