Shimla: With the tense situation in Jammu and Kashmir limping back to normalcy, prices of Himachal apples have sharply fallen here leaving a scour taste in the mouth of many fruit growers.
“The better prices for apples that the market offered a month ago are not there today,” says Davender Shyam, former chairman of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee. “The Kashmir apply supply chain having been restored has had a direct bearing on the fruit prices here,’ he said.
Krishan Karol, a leading fruit merchant said that a good quality fruit was fetching Rs 600 to Rs 700 for a 20 Kg box. “Bulk of the fruit arriving in the market was small which has few takers and that was one reason that prices have fallen,” he said.
Narinder Bragta, horticulture minister dismisses the fall as, “it’s a play of market forces and the prices have not fallen very drastically.”
With most rural roads in the hills having been thrown open, the race to get the market and dispose of the perishable commodity has increased the supply where as the off take is less, complains Ranvir Mehta, an orchardist from Kotgarh.
Shyam claims that the prices have fallen by as much as Rs 300 per box in the past week itself. “Bulk of the fruit is selling between Rs 300 to 400 a box which is far short of the Rs 700 to 900 that it was getting a fortnight ago,” he said.
“We have marketed about 1.30 crores boxes thus far and expect a crop of around 2 crore boxes,” says Bragta. Besides, the government and some private companies are out there procuring fruit directly from the fruit growers, which acts as a market stabilizer, he added.