Apple farmers’ delegation meets LG, demands restart of Apple MIS scheme, 100% import duty on apple

The Administration should implement the Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) forthwith, as demanded by the farmers' federation.
GK Photo
GK Photo

Srinagar, Sep 13: A delegation of the Apple Farmers' Federation called on LG Manoj Sinha today and submitted a memorandum of demands including restarting of Market Intervention Scheme for Apple, 100% import duty on apples, implementation of Crop Insurance Scheme.

According to a statement, Zahoor Ahmad Rather, President, and Abdul Rashid Itoo, Secretary, met LG Manoj Sinha today at Raj Bhawan, Srinagar, and submitted the memorandum.

The Lieutenant Governor patiently listened to the delegation and assured them that the concerns of apple growers would be addressed, Apple Federation's statement read.

The memorandum, submitted by the Apple Farmers' Federation of India (AFFI) J&K, seeks restarting of the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) by the Union government, which they claim had been playing an important role in procuring inferior quality C-grade apples in the Valley since 2017 when the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) first launched the scheme.

"However, this year, the UT Administration has discontinued it for the current marketing season, causing much concern among growers. Every year, there are visuals of this culled fruit being dumped on highways and rivers, as the procurement under MIS is a small portion of the total produce, and most growers have no other avenue to sell their C-grade apples," it read.

The federation also cited the loss of fruit quality as well as quantity due to weather vagaries.

"The cumulative effect has been the reduction of the total yield by 40 to 50%, a drop in yield by 1 million metric tonnes or more! But what is even more concerning is that a larger portion of this year's produce is turning out to be inferior C-grade culled fruit. So, while the reduction in the supply of quality apples may lead to an increase in their market prices, there will be no takers for the flood of culled fruit entering the markets," .

Citing the example of procurement by Himachal Pradesh, where a similar situation has also developed due to incessant rains and hailstorms damaging the apple crop, the Federation said the State government, through its procurement agencies of HPMC, has declared that the culled fruit would be procured at Rs 12 per kilo.

In the prevailing circumstances, the AFFI demands that the Administration of J&K revitalizes the MIS and procures a significant part of the culled fruit at a remunerative price in the 2023-24 marketing season.

The Administration, through J&K HPMC, should involve growers in value-addition activities such as processing culled fruit into apple fruit juice, jams, pickles, bread, etc., following the pattern of Himachal Pradesh, the statement reads.

The Administration should implement the Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) forthwith, as demanded by the farmers' federation.

The federation also demanded an inquiry into the failure of the J&K Horticulture Department to establish adequate weather stations that could communicate the spread of scab disease from one region to another.

Revert the reduction of import tariffs on Washington apples and impose a 100% import duty to safeguard apple growers in the country and also regulate freight charges on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh."

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