By: ML Verma
Shimla: With the advent of Summer-green, Red Gold, Tydeman and Applejune (early ripping strain of apple) aroma at Shimla and Chandigarh fruit markets, the new apple season is set to put half of Himachal Pradesh to hard work.
According to state horticulture director Gurdev Singh, early ripening varieties of apples have started reaching the markets, fetching the attention of agents across the country. He said that apple season is on and its demand is gradually rising as the new crop has arrived in the fruit markets. Usually apple season commence in the end of June and lasts till end of October in the state.
Ashok Sharma and Sanjay, agents of fruits in Dhalli wholesale fruit market here, told HimVani that about 2,000 boxes of apple are being traded daily as apple has started coming from upper parts of Shimla district. They said that apple growers are mostly sending their crop to Chandigarh, Amritsar and Delhi fruit markets. In the wholesale market at Dhalli, a box of Tydeman’s Early Worcester variety is selling between Rs. 400 and Rs. 450, whereas Red June is fetching Rs.200 – Rs.250, they added.
The horticulture department estimates that there would be a record production of Apple this time, which is likely to cross 2008-09 mark of 5.10 lakh tones. Its production had declined to 2.80 Lakh tonnes last year due to lean a season owing to dry monsoon and less snowfall in the winter.
After the early varieties, the harvesting of superior varieties like Red Chief, Super Chief and Royal Delicious would begin. Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts are known for growing high-quality apples. However, the world famous delicious apples from Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti districts would start arriving by October when the harvesting from other areas is almost over.
Apple is considered the backbone of this hill economy as 2 lakh households depend on it in the nine districts. About one lakh hectare area is under apple orchards and contributes about 2000 crores to the state GDP. Chail, Rampur Bushair, Kotgarh, Kumarsain, Rohru, Jubbal and Kotkhai area of Himachal prominently produce early varieties of apples in the sate. The middle and low belt of apple producing zone is considered good for early varieties of apple in the state.
People are diversifying their apple rootstock as they are switching over to new spur varieties of apples, which have dwarf trees beside its production is higher as compared to the huge trees of old apple strain. State like J&K and Uttarakhand are also known for apple production in the country.
Edited by Johar Singh