The Himachal Pradesh government has opened apple collection centres to purchase C-grade apples under its market intervention scheme (MIS). Officials in the department of horticulture said that the government is purchasing C-grade apples from the orchardists at the rate of Rs 6.50 per kg under MIS.
In Kullu district, these collection centres have been opened at 17 stations to collect the C-grade apples from the fruit growers in the district.
In Naggar development block , apple collection centres opened at Patlikuhal, Prini, Larankelo and Lugar bhatti are being operated and manned by the Himachal Pradesh Marketing Corporation (HPMC), a procurement agency. Besides, the apple collection centre at Bhuntar is also being operated and manned by HPMC.
Similarly, in Ani and Nirmand blocks of Ani sub-division of the district, apple collection centres have been opened at Dalash, Chauni, Kungash, Chimni Kenchi, Anni, Kota Seri, Barwin, Chowai, Arsu, Nither, Bagi Pul and Urtu. The centres in Anni sub division are being manned by HPMC and HIMFED.
Tek Chand Thakur, a horticulture expert, said that earlier the culled apples used to be supplied in a 60-kg bag at these collection centres, but from this year, apple produce is to be supplied at these collection centres either in 18-kg crates or in gunny bags weighing 30-kg.
This year, collection centres have been opened at 17 of the 27 stations in the district.
“The special feature of the apples being sold at the collection centres is that as per specifications , the diameter of the apple should not be below 51 mm,” Thakur. However, local orchardists maintained that this year, the collection centres will not be able to evoke much response because the orchardists in Kullu valley are getting remunerative prices of their apple crop at local terminal markets during the current fruit season.
They argue that when fruit growers are getting Rs 35 per kg to Rs 55 per kg for their apple produce in the fruit market, then why should they supply even C-grade apple at the government's collection centres at a meagre rate.