Apple crop is set to break all past records in Himachal Pradesh with production crossing 3.85 crore boxes during the current marketing season of June to October, officials said on Sunday.
The production was about 90 lakh boxes more than the highest production of 2.67 crore standard boxes (each box comprising 20 kg) in 2007 and almost three times the 1.30 crore boxes produced in 2009.
About three crore boxes had already been sent to various markets across the country, while 90 lakh to a crore were yet to be dispatched.
About 40 lakh boxes were stranded in Jubbal-Kotkhai areas due to a massive landslide on the Shimla-Jubbal road near Gumma, 50 km from here. The road was closed last evening as a 200-metre stretch was washed away, making hundreds of apple-laden trucks to get stuck.
The produce from tribal Kinnaur and Lahaul, and Spiti districts is yet to hit the market. The production in the twin tribal districts is expected to cross 40 lakh boxes this year, compared to 20 to 25 lakh boxes in the previous years.
The government agencies sent about 70,000 tonnes of apple under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for processing, but lack of storage capacity left a large quantity to rot, sources said.
A record apple crop, coupled with heavy rains causing numerous road breaches in the apple belt, especially in Shimla district, hampered transportation of the fruit.
However, the disruption helped in avoiding a glut in the markets and the prices, though less than last year, are stable.
The row over charging of commission from the growers at Azadpur market also made the growers apprehensive.
Hopes are also riding on the Commonwealth Games to drive demands for the late varieties of the fruit - juicier and bigger in size - said a grower from Lahaul.