Shimla, Aug 8 (IANS) Adani Agrifresh will procure 35,000 tonnes of apples from Himachal Pradesh this year, a company official said here Sunday.
‘We have started apple procurement two days ago. This year’s procurement rate is Rs.31 a kg for the superior variety,’ Deputy General Manager Sanjay Mahajan told IANS.
This year’s price is Rs.27 less than that of last year. ‘Last year we just managed to procure 9,000 tonnes of apples as the production in the state was quite low (due to a dry monsoon and a snowless winter),’ he added.
Adani Agrifresh has entered into an agreement with growers in the state. ‘We have signed an agreement with more than 10,000 farmers so that the fruit is procured directly from them. Some of the apples would be procured from the market too,’ Mahajan said.
The company has three stores at Rampur, Sainj and Rohru in the state. These stores have a storage capacity of 18,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, apple harvesting has picked up in the state. Till Sunday, over 60 lakh boxes have been transported.
Gian Singh Chandel, chairman of the apple market committee at Dhalli near here, said a 20-kg box of superior grade Royal Delicious was fetching Rs.1,100 to Rs.1,200, whereas Rich-a-Red is getting around Rs.1,000.
He said a large number of traders from other states are camping in various wholesale fruit markets for procurement.
According to him, markets at Dhalli, Narkanda, Rohru, Solan and Parwanoo are the best to procure quality apples.
The best quality apples in the country would start arriving from the Chango, Ribba and Namgiya valleys of Kinnaur and Hurling in Lahaul and Spiti by end of next month.
The horticulture department estimates that apple production this season is set to touch a record three crore boxes. Last year, the production was almost half – 1.4 crore boxes.
Apple is the main fruit crop of the state and is being grown in nine out of 12 districts. Apple fruit accounts for about 40 percent of the total area under all fruit crop cultivation.