Adani Agro Fresh has announced its decision to purchase top-grade apples from targeted growers at a rate of Rs 95 per kilogram, compared to the previous year’s rate of Rs 76 per kilogram. This decision was communicated to the plant managers during a meeting held on Friday. The apple procurement target for this year remains unchanged at 25000 MT, indicating a potentially lean apple season.
Meanwhile, Adani Agri Fresh Limited has addressed the circulation of fake news and misinformation regarding the current season’s procurement prices. The company stated that its prices have consistently remained competitive with the rates prevailing in local mandis. Additionally, they emphasized that besides the rate, Adani Agri Fresh provides numerous facilities to farmers, including crates, packaging materials, exemption from loading and unloading charges, transport subsidies, and continuous updates on weather and crops.
For the ongoing season, Adani introduced a rate of Rs 95 per kg for premium apples with 80 to 100 percent color coverage in large, medium, and small sizes. This contrasts with the previous year’s rate of Rs 76 per kg for similar-grade apples. Similarly, the company offered a rate of Rs 85 per kg for premium extra-small apples with 80 to 100 percent color coverage, whereas last year’s rate for this grade was Rs 76 per kg.
In the open market, A-grade apples with 80 to 100 percent color coverage were being sold at a range of Rs 116 to Rs 120 per kg. This marks a difference of Rs 21 per kg compared to Adani Agri Fresh’s rate.
However, a spokesperson from Adani justified the procurement rates by explaining that farmers can save Rs. 20-25 per kg on the Rs. 95 rate due to the company’s provision of packaging materials, crates, etc. This effectively brings the effective procurement rate by Adani Agri Fresh Limited to around Rs. 120-125 per kg.
On the topic of the buying policy, the AAF spokesperson stated that considering the losses faced by farmers due to incessant rains and landslides this year, AAFL has decided to relax its quality standards. This season, the company has opted not to reject any produce at the collection centers.
Adani operates three collection centers: Sainj in Theog, Mehndali in Rohru, and Bithal in Rampur. Among these, the Bithal plant has the highest capacity of 10,000 MT, while the Sainj and Mehndali plants each have a capacity of 7500 MT. The company proudly highlights its engagement with 15,000 gardener families from 700 villages in Himachal who contribute their produce every year.
According to a report from the Parala Apple market in Shimla district, approximately 28000 apple boxes were auctioned, and a total of 8 lakh apple boxes have been sold to date. On Friday, about 67,000 pear boxes arrived, with A-grade pears being sold at rates ranging from Rs 1000 to 1200 per box, and B-grade pears ranging from Rs 400 to 800 per box.
In the Fruit Market yard in Bhatakufar, around four lakh apples have been sold so far this season. Market sources estimate that approximately Rs. 50 lakh apple boxes have been sold within and outside the state, as much of the crop is being exported out of Himachal Pradesh. This shift is attributed to the prompt payment farmers are receiving in external markets.
On the governmental front, a state government spokesperson has assured close monitoring of private companies. Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi stated that regular inspections will be conducted to prevent the exploitation of horticulturists by company management. He emphasized that if Apple prices are unreasonably decreased, notices will be issued, and explanations will be demanded. The state government has already informed all private procurement agencies about these measures.
Noteworthy that Adani initiated Apple purchases on August 15 last year, whereas this year’s procurement process began on August 24. Notably, due to prevailing weather conditions, no apple trucks reached AAFL’s local centers on the first day of operation. Despite this, the company has made its purchase centers available to farmers.