Poor stone fruits crop shock growers

KUMARHATTI: It is yet another lean year for stone fruit growers of this area. The unfriendly weather conditions have again added to woes to orchardists that faced severe losses from crop. The unexpected cold environ has wreaked havoc on plum and apricot the two main stone fruit crops of area. In most pockets the fall in desired temperature required to give normal shape to crop has proved fatal for crop. The fruit size has recorded under weight than to its normal one.

The crops were ripened immature rendering the orchardists in catch-22 situation. There was no market for immature and under weight fruits, rued an orchardist near here. Usually by this time the orchards were full of fruits but this time the things were quire different, he pointed out.

The crop has ripened at least 15-20 days before it generally got ready for plucking, lamented another fruit grower. The cool weather after March accompanied by repeated dust storms has topsy-turvy all hopes to reap good earnings from crop, he remarked.

In fact from the past few years the stone fruit crop has failed to deliver for one and another reasons. Though in most cases it was weather that played spoilsport for crop but the marketing hassles was another main reason forcing growers to turn shy to grow stone fruits on large scale.

The market observations showed that plum average per kg prices that usually remained between Rs. 10 to 15, now ranges below Rs. 5 most of time. Similarly the apricot that sold over Rs. 20 per kg few years back now hardly manages to get Rs. 10 per kg price.

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