By:Mohan Lal Verma
An allurement to fetch good prices during an auction of proceeds, the malpractice to pack overweight apple boxes is prevalent in various markets across the country proving government’s tall claims of standardizing apple packaging to protect the farmers’ interests damp squib.
Ms. Vidya Stokes, the state horticulture minister who hails from the progressive Satayanand Stokes family and who introduced and promoted apple farming in the state announced last year that growers ought adhere the standardization norms and not to pack over 23 kilograms apple in one full size box.
But due to unawareness, majority of farmers have been resorting to ‘traditionally’ packed overweight boxes, which would ultimately harm the growers fiscally. It seems that the state government took u-turn from introducing only universal carton in this season.
Normally a large apple box can carry 20 kilograms of apple but instead of that farmers pack around 28 kilograms and over in one box to get some extra price. These boxes have fetched bit more prices but actually growers are at a loss as they have been selling more apples in comparatively less price.
“The overweight packs are beneficial to the traders and they discourage normal packs by fetching fewer prices but there should be uniformity in apple packaging to save the farmers interests” says Mr. Kewal Singh, an apple grower from Rohru.
Apple harvesting is picking the pace and in days to come more apples are expected to be exported to markets. The hills economy mostly depends upon apple production as it contributes more than Rupees 3500 crores to the state GDP and renders livelihood of more than six districts in the state.