Kullu apple is selling like hot cakes and the crop this year is not bumper but better than last year. "We have a better crop of apple this year than last year," said Bhupender Chauhan, a fruit commission agent at the fruit market at Patlikuhl, while speaking to HT.
He added, "Presently, Royal Delicious is selling at Rs 58 per kg while Babugosha is fetching Rs 30 to 32 per kg." According to Chauhan, "Obviously the rate Kullu apple is fetching this year is more. Last year, the highest rate fetched by Kullu apple was Rs 55 per kg."
The apple season has started since past more than a week in the valley. It is pertinent to mention that the apple is flooding the local fruit markets at Patlikuhl, Bandrol and Bhuntar. The Patlikuhl market is getting supplies from Manali, Jagatsukh, Aleo, Naggar, Larankelo, Katrain and Baragarh Kothi area of the valley, while the growers from lower areas have been selling their produce at Bandrol market.
It may be recalled that several years back most of the local apple growers used to supply their produce to the fruit markets in and outside the state but now they have been opting to supply their produce to the local fruit markets as they get better rates here.
Besides, growers from Garsa, Mankaran valley and Parbati valley have also started supplying their apple produce to the Bhuntar fruit market. "This year, though the crop is better and disease-free but the size is still smaller due to the drought-like situation," said Ramesh, a grower from Hallan Second area. Buyers of apple produce from Mumbai, Bihar, UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana have been thronging the local fruit markets at Patlikuhl and Bandrol in particular.
Ramesh added that the maximum produce was being packed in cartons instead of wooden cases. An expert from the department of horticulture has advised the fruit growers, particularly in Upper Kullu valley, to not go for the premature harvesting of the crop. He said, "In many belts, apple crop is being harvested before the ripening stage which is disastrous to the marketing prospects of Kullu apple."