As a government agency-Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC)-has not been able to reach its target of apple procurement under the market intervention scheme, the government on Tuesday announced to extend the procurement date up to October 31.
Thus far, the HPMC has procured over 9,300 MT of apple under the scheme against the set target of about 23,000 MT, while the same had procured 34,229 MT last year.
The government has extended the procurement period for Shimla and Kullu districts, where apple harvesting is still underway.
This year, the apple growers got good remuneration as the market remained stable throughout the season. This also hit the market intervention scheme as the grower got only Rs 6.50 for 1 kg under the scheme, with payments being irregular. "There are several growers, who are awaiting payments for the produce sold under the scheme in 2012," said Harish Chauhan, an orchardist.
Another reason that resulted in less procurement is less number of procurement centres opened by the government. However, this comes after the direction from the central government, but HPMC and HIMFED opened 105 and 88 centres respectively this year, which is almost half of that opened last year.
Less procurement can also affect the processing at the HPMC unit, as Parwanoo unit has capacity to process 250 tonne of fruit in a day.