Himachal misses target of 2 crore apple boxes this season; economy suffers


    Himachal Pradesh renown as apple bowl of India, missing current apple season target as against the estimate of two crore boxes state agencies claimed it remained confined to 1.81 boxes in the current season. The state apple economy of about Rs 4000 Cr per annum gave double blow as it hit farmers due to failure to achieve the expected target of production and not fetching good remunerated price forth the crop.

    Director of Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Department Dr.Hem Raj informed that the barring apple season of Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti district it came to end in the rest of apple growing areas as the state could not achieve the expected two crore boxes. He said that this year production also missed last year target as it is about 50 lakh boxes less than last year. He said that state has recorded 2.34 Crore apple production last year.  The declining of production was attributed to the adverse climatic conditions including hailstorm, thunderstorm, and low chilling hours.

    In the last summer season, many spells of heavy hailstorms have ruined the crops moreover it did not draw good prices due to damaged and mark of injuries on the fruit after the hail storm. Farmers who have better crops could not get the expected price to their produce after the recession in the market. The Department waiting to have the data of cold storage would soon come out with the final figure however the season trailed from the last years as it recorded  1.81 boxes with on set of the season in the month of June this year.

    District Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba, Sirmaur, Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti are apple growing reason of state which renders the livelihood of two and a half lakh households. The crop contributes about 14 percent to state GDP as the apple economy provided six months employment avenues for local and other workers mostly Nepalese. The Apple economy attributes to a missionary Satyanand Stokes or Samuel  Evansce Stokes junior who introduced apple to Kotgarh and Thanedar area of  Shimla district in 1920.

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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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