Considering the long pending demand of the state, the Union government has increased the import duty on Apples from existing 30 percent to 50 percent. This was announced by the Union Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Anand Sharma during his recent visit to Himachal. “A basic import duty of 50 percent is levied on apples imported into India as against basic import duty of 30 percent on other fruits and vegetables”.
He also said that a MOU had been signed with the State Government to set up agri-export zones for apple crop in the year 2002 covering Shimla, Sirmour, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and Kinnaur district, as a result of which, 262 metric tones of apples were exported in year 2011-12 worth Rs 52 lakh. The Minister said that the Union Government has sanctioned 18 projects worth Rs 540.36 Crore to set up Agro based processing units and many other industrial investments in the state.
Apple is considered to be the back bone of state economy as it renders livelihood to about 2.5 lakh households, contributing 15 percent of state GDP. The annual crop gives an annual turn over of Rs 3000 Crore, as 2 lakh hectare land under its cultivation produces 800 lakh metric tone apple crop.