Himachal Pradesh, the country's main apple-growing region, will bring standardisation in marketing of the fruit, Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes said here Thursday.She said the government has been contemplating bringing amendments to the HP Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act of 2005 and the HP Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (General) Amendment Rules of 2006."The amendments would clearly specify the weight and count of apples for different packs," she said.
Stokes, herself one of India's most prominent apple growers, said the weight of the apples inclusive of packaging should not be more than 22.5 kg for bigger packs and 11 kg for smaller packs, irrespective of the type of packaging to be used by growers.She said this would bring standardisation in the apple marketing trade and prevent fruit growers from exploitation by middlemen.The minister called upon fruit wholesale traders to support this cause for bringing uniformity in the trade.Stokes said the use of ethral spray on the apple crop would be completely banned in a phased manner.
She said directions have been given to the Dr. Y.S. Parmar University for Horticulture and Forestry in Solan to find out other alternativees to the ethral spray.Apple constitutes about 93 percent of the total fruit production in the state.Himachal Pradesh's apple boom is credited to Satyanand (Samuel Evans Stokes, Junior), an American missionary, who first introduced high-quality apples in the Kothgarh-Thanedar belt in upper Shimla in the early 1920s.The apple season in the state for 2013-14 ended with a bumper production of over 3.22 crore apple boxes of 20 kg each - approximately 734,000 tonnes.