How times have changed. You can now have a mango in December and get an orange in June. But strangely, even if it keeps the doctor away, consumers aren’t biting away at abundant apples in October—its peak season. The sheer choice of fruits, especially off-season and imported varieties, is posing a big challenge for apple growers. Moreover, the market is smothered under the weight of yet another bumper crop, which is leading to a rather unnatural see-saw in apple prices.
This has the apple-growers shooting off missives to the Centre and states, begging for relief. “Prices have dropped, picked up, and then nearly halved again over the course of just the last month-and-a-half, in local markets of Himachal Pradesh as well as in big-city mandis,” says Ravinder Chauhan, who heads the Apple Growers Association of India. The farmers want fewer imports, of course, but they admit the solution really lies in a big mid-course correction in how the fruit markets are managed.