Demand for 'Uttarakhandi' apples grow

February 20 2012

Dehra Dun, Feb 20 : Stiff competition from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh notwithstanding, the demand of some of the varieties like Royal Delicious, Red Delicious and Golden from Tyuni-Nogaon-Harsil belt in Uttarakhand is now growing smartly across the country.

From Chandigarh to New Delhi, apples from this belt are being liked in different parts of the country, experts said. And apples growers in these areas are all set to reap huge dividends thanks to a Dutch technology that has come as a boon to boost sales.

The control atmosphere storage [CAS] facility where oxygen level is brought roughly around 1-2 degrees of the atmospheric level began functioning last September from the apple belt of Nogaon in Uttarkashi district.

An investment of Rs 15.5 crore came from Stichting Het Groene Woudt SHGW, a Dutch foundation with the help of Fresh Food Technology, another global company from Holland which has developed the Van Amerongen technology for preserving apples.

The entire project is non-profitable where the shares would eventually be transferred after the recovery of the cost of the machines.

Nearly 400 metric tons of apples was procured and kept in the cold storage this season which is now being sold at different areas like New Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur and Chandigarh.

This is the first cold storage exclusively for apples in the entire Garhwal region,? said Laxmi Prakash Semwal, who is heading Shri Jagdamba Samiti, a local NGO, which took the entire initiative to bring the Dutch players into the apple belt of the hill state.

The cold storage has the capacity to store nearly 1200 metric tons of apples for nearly 9 months. This year, which is the first season after the installation of the CAS, the apples are being sold at an average price of Rs 85 in the market against the average procurement price of Rs 60 which means that there will be a profit of Rs 10-15 per kg after discounting various expenses like electricity bills. The total profit is now hovering around Rs 40 lakh.

This is being seen as an immediate 20 to 30 percent jump in the prices, said Semwal. ?Our main focus will be to remove middlemen from the apple business due to which farmers were not getting the real price,? said Semwal.