By: ML Verma
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh horticulture minister Narinder Bragta has said that the state is expected a good apple produce this year as the government has projected production of 2.50 crore apple boxes (each box 20 kg) in the ensuing season.
This was revealed by the minister yesterday after kicking off special post-harvest steps for transportation and marketing measures for major cash produce in the hill state. Bragta told media persons here after convening a high-level meeting for the season that the yield is better this year but cannot be termed as a bumper crop. He noted that during the last season the crop yield was lean as only 1.50 crore boxes of apple were recorded.
He said it is too early to predict it as the bumper crop as there are chances of hailstorm, which could reduce the apple yield by 20 per cent. Apple production may go up from 2.50 crore boxes by 20 per cent if weather conditions remain favorable, he added. Bragta said the government would ensure constant and timely supply of cartons, apple trays and other raw material for packaging the fruit besides maintaining the quality and reasonable rates of cartons and raw material to be made available to farmers.
The minister said in order to ensure best prices for apple crop to farmers, Himachal Processing and Marketing Corporation (HPMC) along with two other sister public sector units – Himachal Pradesh State Co-operative Marketing and Consumer’s Federation Limited (HIMFED) and Himachal Pradesh Agro Processing Limited – would intervene in the market on a big way. Showing resentment over charging of exorbitant fee from farmers at Azadpur market in Delhi, Bragta said the government would appeal to farmers not to sell their produce in the national capital.
About two lakh households in five districts depend on the Rs 2,000 crore apple-driven economy of the state. The apple season starts in mid-June and ends in mid-October. Golden, Royal, Red Golden, Delicious Royal, Green Golden and Spur variety of apples are being produced in the state.