As the Himachal state government is switching over to plastic trays for packaging of apples on a trial basis, corrugated box manufacturers are facing huge losses. There are 250-odd corrugated box manufacturing units in Himachal. According to Surinder Jain, president, HP Corrugated Box Manufacturers Association, they have barely received 10 per cent orders for apple cartons.
About 40 mln apple boxes -of about 20 kg each- are used in the state when production is good. With adverse weather conditions such as hailstones and disease striking the apple belt, the fruit production is slated to be lesser this year.
The Himachal Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board has approved use of plastic crates for transporting apples in select markets yards in Shimla district. Though the move is aimed at bringing down the input cost, growers were raising issues of sudden price hike of plastic crates.