Lucknow: Wholesale and retail prices for apples have seen a rise of up to 20% over the last week. In Himachal Pradesh the price has reached Rs.90 per Kg whereas in Jammu and Kashmir the price is up to Rs.55 per Kg. The season's first heavy snowfall has affected apple farmers and customers alike.
Speaking to Gaon Connection on the phone, President of the Shimla based Apple Growers Association of India, Ravindra Chauhan said, "The damage in Himachal Pradesh was slightly less as the maximum snowfall occurred at high altitudes from where most of the harvesting had been completed. In Jammu and Kashmir however, the damage is more as the bulk of the harvesting is yet to be done. 10 to 12% of the crop is said to be destroyed."
The apple industry is worth 5000 crores annually in Himachal Pradesh. 5 of the 12 districts grow apples. More than 1 lakh orchards are part of this hundred-year-old industry. Approximately 4 crores crates are produced every year in the state. Those figures are set to reduce this year.
The unexpected snowfall in Kashmir has caused heavy damages. Orchards in Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Bandipora and Baramulla districts are badly affected. Ex Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked for figures of the damages and has appealed to the Central Government to consider a package for the affected farmers.
Jammu and Kashmir are the largest producer of apples in the country accounting for 80% of production. Himachal Pradesh accounts for 16-17%. The rest of the 24lakh tins come from Uttarakhand and other states. According to the Central Agriculture Ministry's Third Advance Estimate for 2017-2018 the production of apples will be 23.7 lakh tons, up from 22.9 lakh tons in its Second Advance Estimate. The land under apple cultivation is also reported to have gone up to 3,06, 000 hectares from 3,05,000 last year.
The effects of the weather are beginning to show in market places across the country. In Lucknow's Naveen Galla Mandi, Rajkaran Singh of Singh Fruit Trading told Gaon Connection, "we have stopped receiving apples from Himachal Pradesh and the prices of the crates from Jammu and Kashmir are going up. We are receiving less as well."
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