Himachal orchardists suffer ₹1,500 crore loss
This year Himachal produced around 2.75 crore apple boxes while in 2019 the state produced 3.5 crore apple boxesUpdated: Oct 29, 2020, 01:08 IST
Himachal’s ₹4,500-crore apple economy has suffered a loss of at least ₹1,500 crore this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and damage to apple crop which took place due to heavy rainfall and hailstorms earlier this year. This year Himachal Pradesh produced around 2.75 crore apple boxes while in 2019, the state produced 3.5 crore apple boxes.
Horticulture department joint director JP Sharma said that this year apple production was low as compared to last year due to different factors as earlier this year heavy rainfall, hailstorms and diseases such as scab had damaged the apple crop.
Mahinder Thakur, an orchardist from Kotgarh, said that last year he had produced around 2,000 apple boxes but this year he could only grow around 800 apple boxes. This happened as earlier in April, heavy hailstorm in the area battered the apple crop in the flowering stage.
This year quality of apples were also not up to the mark as most of the apples were kept in C grade category as they lacked desirable colour and size. Therefore, orchardists could not get good a price for the produce. Despite the pandemic, orchardists received better rates at the beginning of the apple season, which decreased as the apple season picked pace. Imported apples also marred the Himachal’s apple’s chances.
Apples are mostly grown in Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Mandi districts of the state. This year due to coronavirus pandemic orchardists faced many challenges like lack of labourers, restrictions during the lockdown and negative effect of the pandemic on the economy of the country.