Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 10
Here’s some good news for apple growers. A box of spur variety went for Rs 4,000 in the Dhalli Fruit Market today. Even varieties such as tideman and red June, the first to hit the market, have fetched good prices — from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,200.
Pear, too, has not disappointed the growers. A box of the half-red variety has been fetching as high as Rs 3,000. “It’s not every day a box of apple goes for more than Rs 4,000,” said Harish Thakur, president of the Aarthiya Association, Dhalli.
It’s of course the beginning of the season and prices tend to remain high at this time. This year, however, orchardists were apprehensive about the prices of their produce because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We were not sure what prices we will get this time. The main concern was whether there will be buyers. Luckily, our fears remained just fears,” said Ram Swaroop Sharma, after each of his 40 boxes went for Rs 4,000.
“Last year, I had got Rs 3,500 per box for my early variety apple; this time I have earned even more. I was certainly not expecting this,” he said.
If orchardists were, and many still are, fearful, it wasn’t without a reason. Earlier, when the country went through successive lockdowns, vegetable growers, especially who grew cauliflower and exotic vegetables such as broccoli, coloured capsicum, etc, suffered massive losses. Due to low prices, many either distributed their produce or destroyed in the fields rather than sending it to the market.
For apple, despite the bright start, it’s still early days. The season will begin well and truly in another two weeks, and the prices could be a lot different that time.
“It’s just the beginning and the real price will play out once the season picks up pace,” said a loader from Varanasi. “If there are restrictions such as quarantine for loaders, many may not come and that may affect the prices,” he said. But for now, orchardists will not mind a promising start to the season.