Shimla, Aug 19 (IANS) The price of crisp, crunchy and juicy apples of Himachal Pradesh, India's main apple basket, has crashed due to oversupply of the fruit, traders said Sunday.
They said the prices were not likely to bounce back as the supply has surpassed the demand.
"In the past 10 days, the prices of all varieties of apples have come down massively. A box of Royal Delicious that today (Sunday) fetched around Rs.1,000 at auction selling between Rs.2,200 and Rs.2,300 almost 10 days back," apple supplier Pratap Chauhan said.
He said the prices of some not-so-delicious varieties fell to Rs.200-350 for a box of 20 kg.
Horticulture experts say premature harvesting was the main reason for fall in prices.
"The farmers have started harvesting in panic in a bid to earn better prices. Even the undersize crop was harvested," Adani Agrifresh Deputy General Manager Sanjay Mahajan told IANS.
"As the harvesting picked up, there was a glut-like situation in the markets across the state. There is simple economics: the prices fall when the supply exceeds the demand," he added.
Adani Agrifresh is one the prominent Agro commodities trading houses that is procuring the apples directly from the farmers.
Traders in the Dhalli apple market near here said a 20 kg box of top quality Royal Delicious fetched between Rs.700 and Rs.1,200 Sunday.
Likewise, Red Gold fetched from Rs.300 to Rs.700 per box while the earning was Rs.200-400 for Golden.
Horticulture department director Gurdev Singh said the lifting of the apples from the markets in Narkanda, Rohru, Kullu, Kharapathar and Solan has declined as the buyers, 90 percent of them are Muslims, returned to their homes to celebrate Eid.
"For the three-four days, there was no major buying. Now, it will take four to five days for them to return to the markets," he said.
"There are no reasons to panic as the prices would bounce back once the trading again begins in full stream."
Horticulture department estimates say this season, the state is expected to produce 22-25 million boxes of 20 kg each against the last year's lean production of 14 million boxes.
A total of 20 lakh apple boxes have been exported so far this season.