The total production of apple in Himachal Pradesh stood at two crores boxes of 20 kg each in the current season, up about 65 lakh boxes over last year.

This year, the production is about two crore boxes of 20 kg each, Horticulture Director Gurdev Singh said.

This is about 65 lakh boxes more than last year’s 1.40 crore boxes, he said.

Traders in the Dhalli apple market near Shimla said apple has been kept in cold storages by the growers and against normal flow of 1,000 boxes per day only 200 boxes are reaching the market and that too from tribal Kinnaur district and some places in high altitude areas.

Kinnauri apple is known for its quality and longer shelf life and fetches much higher returns.

Agro-commodities trading house Adani Agrifresh procured 16,300 tonnes of apples during this season against the target of 22,000 tonnes, a senior official of the company said.

The procurement by Adani Agrifresh was meager 6,000 tonnes in the last season.

The official said most of the apple crop was undersize and the fruit had not even attained true colour this season.

This year, the production is 20 per cent less than the normal of 2.40 crore boxes of 20 kg each.

Horticulture department officials attributed the low production to scanty rainfall in the apple belts of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur and Chamba districts when the fruit was in bearing stage during May and June.

The apple production was all time high at 8.92 lakh tonne in 2010 but it was an exception. It came down to four lakh tonne last year.