Himachal to start apple procurement from July 22

Shimla, July 12 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government will start procurement of apples, the state's main horticulture crop, under the market intervention scheme (MIS) from this month, an official said here Friday.

About 90,343 metric tonnes of apples would be procured under MIS from July 22 to Oct 31 at a rate of Rs.6.50 per kg, a government spokesperson said.

The handling charges would be Rs.1.95 per kg.

For this, he said, 260 procurement centres would be set up and the fruit would be procured from the horticulture card-holders, not from the contractors.

Under the scheme, procurement of apples would be done in 18 kg bags or crates.

The hill state's apple industry is worth over Rs.2,000 crore.

Horticulture department estimates say this year the state is heading for a bumper apple production after two consecutive years of less than normal yield.

A production of over 3.75 crore apple boxes of 20 kg each is expected, said Gurdev Singh, director of horticulture.

Apple is the main fruit crop of the state and is grown in nine of its 12 districts. It accounts for about 40 percent of the total area under all fruit crop cultivation.

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