Kinnaur – land of Apples
Apples from Kinnaur, known for their natural sweetness, colour, succulence and prolonged shelf life, are grown at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Among the popular varieties of Kinnauri apples are Royal, Golden, Red Golden, Red Delicious and Scarlet Spur. Major apple belts in Kinnaur district are in Sangla and Pooh blocks which have been worst affected due to flash floods.
Traders say the absence of this crop will put pressure on prices in the coming months. The plucking season in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand begins in July end and the crop hits the market in August. Kinnauri apples hit the market in mid-September when other apple varieties have already flooded the market. While other apples have a shelf life of two months, the Kinnaur fruits have a shelf life of four months.
Mukesh Jaiswal, owner of Rakesh Jaiswal Fruit in Mumbai’s Worli area, said: “Prices of apple have already climbed by 25%-30% this year. We are hearing that production in Kinnaur has been affected though other regions of Himachal have recorded a bumper crop. But going by the trend, prices are likely to remain firm for quality apple this year.”because Kinnauri apple is king of fruits
In Kolkata, prices of quality apple which traders say have come from Shimla cost Rs 170-180 per kg. “We do not see prices falling immediately. The Ramadan month is beginning tomorrow and apple prices surely will remain firm for the next one month,” said Mohammed Irshad, a fruit dealer in Kolkata’s Chandni Chowk fruit market. Added Jagdish Sharma, a fruit trader in Azapur mandi, said “There are reports that heavy to moderate rains have again lashed Himachal. If that affects the apple crop, prices will continue to remain on the higher side this year.”
Apples are largely grown in the districts of Shimla, Sirmour, Kinnaur, Chamba, Manali, Solan and Kullu districts of Himachal. “Barring Kinnaur, apple production is extremely good this year. In fact, it has doubled this year. We are expecting a production of 3 crore boxes (20 kg each) of apples this year,” said Mukesh kumar Sharma. Kinnauri apple is king of fruits
The much-awaited Delicious variety of apples from Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, known for their natural sweetness, colour and succulence, have hit the markets and are fetching remunerative prices in Delhi and Chandigarh, as also in Punjab and Haryana, a horticulture official here said.
“A box of superior apple variety from Kinnaur is selling between Rs.2,200 and Rs.2,400 ($35-$39) in the Delhi market, which is 25-30 percent higher than apples coming from other districts,” said Jai Chand, a trader at Narkanda apple market, some 65 km from Shimla.
Kinnauri apples are known as per Quality as under
Superior grades like Royal Delicious, Red Chief, Super Chief, Oregon Spur and Scarlet Spur have just started arriving.
The price of a crate increases by Rs.50-Rs.100 in the Delhi and Chandigarh wholesale markets.
Gurdev Singh said the harvesting of apples in Kinnaur has picked up in orchards located at lower altitudes. “In the Chango and Kalpa areas the orchards are at higher elevation and the harvesting there will begin in the last week of this month.”
Apples in Kinnaur are grown at an altitude above 10,000 feet. The prominent apple belts in the district are Sangla, Kalpa, Chango, Nichar and Pooh.
Retailers and street vendors often sell apples from other parts of Himachal Pradesh as Kinnauri apples. But the reality is that Kinnaur apples start coming only in October.
Experts say the normal apple production in Kinnaur is around 2 million to 2.2 million boxes, which is six to seven percent of the state’s total yield.
Apple grower Ramesh Kumar, who is settled in Nako village in Pooh, said the crop is still maturing.
“It will take 10 to 15 days to start harvesting,” he said.
Another apple grower, Jagat Singh Negi, who is settled in Sangla, said most of the crop in the area has been harvested.
Traders in Shimla say apples from Kinnaur start arriving at that time when the crop from other areas in the state is almost over. That is why it commands a good price.
Besides apples, other fruits like pears, apricots, almonds and grapes – both green and black – are Kinnaur’s other major commercial crops.
The horticulture department estimates that the state is expected to produce 25-30 percent less apples this season compared to last year’s bumper production of over 32.2 million boxes.
So far, over 24 million boxes of various apple varieties have been sent to various markets in the country.
Horticulture department surveys say apple productivity ranges from six tonnes to 11.5 tonnes per hectare in the state, against 35-40 tonnes in more advanced countries.
The hill state is one of India’s major apple-producing regions, with more than 90 percent of the produce going to the domestic market.
Apples accounted for 90 percent of the Rs.35 billion the state earned last year from the sale of horticultural produce.