Shimla — In a landmark decision set to benefit thousands of apple growers, the Himachal Pradesh Marketing Corporation (HPMC) will purchase apples in crates for the first time this season under the Mandi Mediation Scheme (MIS). This pilot project aims to streamline apple procurement and improve the quality of apple-based products.

HPMC has introduced 30,000 crates at the Parala plant in Theog for apple procurement, eliminating the need for Vardana, traditional sacks used for packing apples. This change is expected to significantly reduce costs for the apple growers. Jagat Singh Negi, Horticulture Minister, highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting apple growers, stating, “By using crates, apples will not be damaged, and the quality of products made from MIS apples will be even better.”

Traditionally, apple growers supplied apples to HPMC in sacks, incurring an additional cost of 30 rupees per sack. The new crate system promises to maintain apple quality during transportation, leading to higher-quality products from HPMC. This shift is expected to result in higher profits for HPMC, which in turn, will benefit apple growers with better prices and timely payments under MIS.

Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, Managing Director of HPMC, emphasized the logistics behind this initiative. “On the instructions of the government, we have arranged 30,000 crates for purchasing apples under MIS. In the first phase, all apples for the Parala Fruit Processing Plant will be purchased in crates,” Mokhta said.

The Parala Fruit Processing Plant is set to process approximately 18,000 metric tonnes of apples this season. With the new crate system, the plant will produce 1,800 metric tonnes of apple juice, 100,000 litres of apple wine, and 50,000 litres of apple vinegar. Similar procurement methods will be adopted at HPMC’s Parwanoo and Jarol plants.

About 30,000 apple growers across the state supply C-grade apples to HPMC annually under the MIS. The introduction of crates is expected to benefit these apple growers by reducing costs and enhancing the quality of their produce.