Apple growers drawing flak after market crumble

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The apple growers of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Jammu & Kashmir are likely to draw flak as market price suddenly crumble forcing them to sell the crop on much less prices than the cost of production.

Former Horticulture Minister, Narinder Bragta termed Union government responsible for this alleging as the market was allowed to glut by the latter by opening the flood gate of foreign apple as SAFTA, imposed on the domestic apple industry.

State Congress government had made promises to the horticulturists in the state that it would impose 150 percent import duty of the foreign apple. But it had cheated the peasantry by not fulfilling it.

Anand Sharma, Union Commerce Minister released the party Manifesto along with Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit at hotel Peterhoff and promised to keep apples as special category product for paving the way for imposition of import duty on it.

Mr. Bragta who lost the last assembly, addressed media conference here stating that A grade apples was fetching price band of Rs 900 per box of 20 kg, while it was of Rs. 2500-3000. B and C grade apples was being sold at the rate of Rs. 500 to 600 per box which was of Rs. 1000-1500 in the last season.

Apple, which is considered as the major house hold industry is in danger and day is not far when horticulturists will have to commit suicide. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes who belong to the apple growing section are silent spectators while farmers were lodging protest over this issue.

Union Government allowed free trade after implementing South Asia Free Trade Area(SAFTA) as low cost apples from China, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are glutting Asia’s largest market at Azadpur Delhi and other metropolis today.

He said that under WTO regime, any signatory country could impose import duty on special category products. However Mr. Sharma is least worried about it. He warned that WTO regime which would start trade after 2014 would further make the apple cultivation a loss full proposition for farmers.

Keeping above appalling reason in mind, opposition BJP would hold agitation from month of September. This would start at Rampur and it would be spread out to Sep 4, 6, and 10 and 15 at Rohru, Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba and Mandi.

Former Minister who is also a prominent Apple grower of Jubbal and Kotkhai alleged that during last five years of BJP regime farmers got the returns form the crop which is back bone of hill economy and renders the livilihood of more than one lakh house holds.

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