Shimla : With the apple harvest finally over in the highland orchards of Himachal Pradesh the production this time has dropped dramatically to the lowest in 12 years, say officials .
The entire production this year is estimated to be less than 1.3 crore boxes. This includes apples sold both in boxes and gunny bags . Most of the harvest is over by late October .
The production in 1999 was almost 1 crore boxes. But this yearâ€™s output at 1.3 crore boxes is seen as worse than 1999 since the area under apple cultivation has grown over the years , farmers told the Hill Post.
Also a lot of orchards planted over 20 years ago are now fully grown and so have a higher crop potential .
Shimla district which accounts for around 80 per cent of the entire yield of the state saw a huge fall . Many farmers say they recorded the lowest output ever in the last 30 to 50 years of apple business.
The only bright feature was that the returns were very good despite large quantities of foreign apple being imported from America , Europe , China and New Zealand. Himachal apple was successfully able to compete with foreign apple, particularly Chinese apple , say traders .
Even though the state has recorded the lowest crop this time in 12 years only last year the state recorded a record 4.46 crore boxes .
In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.