Shimla | TNR
With the first phase of the apple season in Himachal ending, 1.26 crores of apple boxes have been sold in different mandis of the country. The total boxes sold by growers touches 2.05 crores, if apples purchased by state government undertakings like HPMC and HIMFED under the mandi intermediation scheme (MIS) are also taken into consideration.
The Horticulture department estimated a total of 4.15 crore boxes in the state. This means that almost half the apple season is assumed to have passed. This holds true for apples from lower altitude areas, while those from areas at altitudes above 7500 feet are still being sold in the mandis.
Apples being sold between Rs 300 to 2200
When the season began, apples from lower altitude areas were being sold at a maximum of Rs 4300 but there was a massive slump in the apple market after August 15. Growers are now barely able to fetch Rs 300 to Rs 2200 per box. Growers who had not installed anti-hail nets have not even been able to get their cost price. This is primarily the reason why growers have united under the banner of the United Farmers Manch and have decided to protest at the block, tehsil and district level across the state.
Growers disappointed with private corporates
More than half a dozen private houses have set up CA stores in Himachal. During the peak of the apple season, these private enterprises buy apples from the growers at very low prices and store them, which in fact existed 10 years back. These are then sold in the off-season at two to three times the buying prices thus fetching them huge profits. This is also the main reason why the world-famous Kinnauri apples too are being sold very cheaply.