The most awaited apple season in the hill State of Himachal Pradesh has begun with the first lot of around 10 lakh cartons reaching various markets in the country.
Apple is the most important fruit crop or cash crop of the hill State and constitutes about 49 per cent of the total area under fruit crops — about 85 per cent of the total fruit production, says the latest Economic Survey of the State. The apple fruit, having an economy of around Rs. 3,500 crore, is grown mainly in the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and some parts of Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti. The average production of apple is around 5 lakh tonnes or 2.5 crore boxes every year but the maximum production was recorded in the year 2010-11 when it crossed 9 lakh tonnes or almost touched 5 crore boxes.
Due to inclement weather, this year the initial supply from the orchards is slow and only around 20,000 boxes are being transported every day. The fruit has not attained the full size and lacks colour, said majority wholesalers.