Fruit growers worried over falling apple prices

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.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

1 Comment

  • Even during the peak time when was the market in the 900 plus mode, price for a 20 kg box was not fetching anything more than 600/ All buyers asks for high grade apples. Meaning a box of medium apples have in fact large sized apples packed and the avergae weight of the box is around 28 kg. This year the Amarnath shrine agitation had been a blessing in disguise to the Himachali farmers as the shortfall of Kashmir apples prompted better returns for Himachal farmers.

    The prices have gone down for other various reasons too. This point of time the arrival of crop is from the higher reaches and most of the crop is damaged due to hail and hence one of the reasons for low prices. The govt as usual is happy rolling out figures. No point commenting on the govt infrastucture as Shimla Mandi is still a one show and that too from a rented premises outside the mandi yard.

    A little off topic but here is a link from the Tribune Chandigarh, who carried a similar story the and the figures are a lot different. As per Tribune, the ‘Sheikhs of Himachal’ are reaping money these days!. A classic case of office chair journalism.

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