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East coast of India: Price of apples rising, quality dropping

With the arrival of the summer season, apples in India have become dearer but the quality of the fruit has dropped. A Visakhapatnam local said: “The apples that were sold at Rs 150 (1.88 euros) per kg are now going for Rs 200 (2.50 euros) a kg. About 50 percent of the fruits are spoiled inside, though they still look good on the outside. The vendors are cheating the public by selling them rotten fruit.”

The fruit sellers are not able to deliver fresh stock due to the lack of proper cold storage facilities and efficient road transport.

According to the India Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), apples are supposed to be preserved in controlled atmosphere (CA) stores. These were introduced in India 12 to 15 years ago, but until now there are only 50 CA stores in the country and most of them are in northern India.

Visakhapatnam does not have a CA store and all the fruit wholesalers preserve the apples in normal cold storage facilities, while the local vendors still use thermocol sheets that are not at all ideal for preserving apples. The fruits kept in thermocol boxes will spoil within 10 days. reports how private parties are encouraged to come forward to set up CA stores; the government is ready to provide subsidies for building them.

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