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Estimates of bumper apple crop go haywire

SHIMLA: Though the Horticulture Department wishes to surpass the 2014-15 level, all estimates of the bumper apple crop this year go haywire as the state has exported about 2.



Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 4

Though the Horticulture Department wishes to surpass the 2014-15 level, all estimates of the bumper apple crop this year go haywire as the state has exported about 2.70 crore apple cartons till date.

The initial estimates have predicted another bumper crop surpassing all-time high of apple production – 4.47 crore cartons in 2010-11. This time, the apple crop may come close to 3.12 crore cartons produced in 2014-15 which is nowhere near 3.69 crore cartons produced in 2013-14, the second highest apple harvest of all time, the horticulturists say.

Harvesting in Kinnaur and higher altitudes of Shimla district are at its peak and more than 75 per cent apple season is over, reveal edfarmers. Kinnuar may produce about 30 lakh cartons this time because it has a good crop.

Though the apple arrivals in markets have dropped to 3 lakh carton per day rom 6-7 lakh cartons reported in mid- August, horticulturists say the production would be 70 lakh to 90 lakh more than what was in 2014-15.

The major reason for lower production, according to farmers, is that the fruit remained undersized while farmers resorted to premature harvesting in many parts of the apple belt due to the eviction drive.

The HPMC has procured about 25,890 metric tonnes of apples under the market intervention scheme in 263 collection centre opened in the state till today. On the other hand, about 3.3 lakh cartons may be stored in cold stores this time, reveal officials.

“We will arrive at the final apple production figure once the season winds up as procurement will continue till October 31,” said DP Bahngalia, Director Horticulture. “We will cross the 3 crore apple production target as about 30-25 per cent apple crop is yet to be harvested in Kinnaur and higher reaches of Shimla,” he added.

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