Shimla, Aug 20 (Calcutta Tube) With apple harvesting in full swing, Himachal Pradesh has transported over one crore boxes of its delicious fruit to different places in the country, a minister said here Friday.
A box contains 20 kg of apples.
‘Till date 1.2 crore boxes have been sent to various markets in the country,’ Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta told IANS.
He said on an average 200,000 to 250,000 boxes were being despatched every day.
‘Harvesting is on in almost all the districts, except Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts,’ he added.
The high quality apples from the Chango, Ribba and Namgiya valleys of Kinnaur, and Hurling in Lahaul and Spiti that command a virtual monopoly in the markets are likely to hit the markets by next month.
The horticulture department estimates that apple production this year will touch a record three crore boxes. Last year, the production was almost half — 1.4 crore boxes.
Said Tulsi Ram, a farmer from Kothgarh village in upper Shimla: ‘Farmers are getting comfortable prices despite high production, and supplying directly to markets like Chandigarh and Delhi.’
Gian Singh Chandel, chairman of the apple market committee at Dhalli near here, said superior grade Royal Delicious was fetching Rs.31 a kg in the wholesale market, whereas Rich-a-Red and Golden were getting around Rs.25 a kg.
The Kothgarh-Thanedar apple belt in Shimla district is the prominent apple belt in the state.
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.