Shimla: Early varieties of apples from Himachal Pradesh have arrived in the market, attracting buyers from across the country. “The season has started well. The demand is high and the fresh arrivals always sell better than the later crop,” Horticulture Director Gurdev Singh was quoted in the media.
He said varieties like Red Gold, Red June and Tydeman’s Early Worcester have reached the markets. “This year the crop harvesting is 15 to 20 days in advance.”
Cartons of the fruit have already been dispatched to Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana and are fetching good prices, he said. “Local traders are getting good enquiries from across the country about the actual arrival of the crop.”
Ashok Sharma, a trader at the Dhalli wholesale fruit market said: “Every day 2,000 crates of apple are reaching here from upper Shimla areas. Most of the crates are heading towards Chandigarh, Amritsar and Delhi.”
The apples are selling Rs.100-120 a kg in the retail markets of Chandigarh and Delhi.
Sanjay Chauhan, an apple farmer from upper Shimla, said: “The apple season started almost a week ago. The harvesting of superior varieties would begin end of next month.”
The price of the early varieties range between Rs.200 and Rs.450 per 20-kg box.
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.
The horticulture department estimates that there would be a record production this time. “The apple yield would cross the 2008-09 mark of 510,000 tonnes,” Singh said.
Apple production had declined to 280,000 tonnes last year due to a dry monsoon and a snowless winter.
The meteorological office in Shimla said the state experienced plentiful rain this year.
After the early varieties, the harvesting of superior varieties like Red Chief, Super Chief and Royal Delicious would begin.