Shimla: Agro commodities trading house Adani Agrifresh plans to procure 22,000 tonnes of apples in Himachal Pradesh this season, a company official said on Sunday.

"This year's procurement will start from Aug 16," Deputy General Manager Sanjay Mahajan told. He said the apple crop this year was good and the company was hoping to achieve its procurement target.

Last year, the company procured only 6,000 tonnes against the target of 18,000 MT. The hill state is one of India's major apple-producing regions, with more than 90 percent of the produce going to the domestic market.

The apple industry is worth over Rs.2,000 crore. Horticulture department estimates say this season, the state is expected to produce 22-25 million boxes of 20 kg each against the last year's lean production of 14 million boxes.

Superior grades such as Royal Delicious, Red Chief, Super Chief, Oregon Spur and Scarlet Spur have started arriving in the market.

Traders in the Dhalli apple market near Shimla said a 20 kg box of top quality Royal Delicious fetched between Rs.1,600 and Rs.2,000 Sunday and its high grade quality sold for up to Rs.2,300 per box.

Likewise, Red Delicious fetched from Rs.1,200 to Rs.1,400 per box while the earning was Rs.400 to Rs.1,000 for Red Golden and Rs.300 to Rs.550 for Golden.

Partap Chauhan, an apple supplier in Dhalli, said that in the last three days, apple prices had crashed massively."It's mainly due to the arrival of the crop in bulk.

In Delhi's Azadpur market, the price (of all varieities) has come down by up to Rs.500 per box," he said.Kinnauri apples, known across the world for their natural sweetness, colour and juiciness, will start arriving in the market by the end of September, said traders.

The chairman of Dhalli Apple Market Committee, Gian Singh Chandel, said this year only a few farmers were opting to sell their produce in the wholesale markets in Delhi and Chandigarh since they were getting good prices within the state.

According to the 2011-12 Economic Survey, the area under apple cultivation has increased from 400 hectares in 1950-51 to 101,485 hectares in 2010-11.


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