Srinagar, September 13: A delegation from the Apple Farmers’ Federation met with LG Manoj Sinha today and presented a list of demands, including the resumption of the Market Intervention Scheme for Apple, the imposition of a 100% import charge on apples, and the implementation of the Crop Insurance Scheme.
A statement claims that the document was sent to LG Manoj Sinha today at Raj Bhawan in Srinagar by Zahoor Ahmad Rather, president, and Abdul Rashid Itoo, secretary.
According to a statement from the Apple Federation, the Lieutenant Governor calmly listened to the group and gave them assurance that the issues raised by apple producers will be taken care of.
The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) first introduced the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) in 2017, and the Apple Farmers’ Federation of India (AFFI) J&K has since submitted a memorandum asking the Union government to restart it. They claim that this has been crucial in obtaining C-grade apples of subpar quality in the Valley ever since.
The UT Administration has, however, stopped utilising it for the current marketing season, which has greatly concerned producers. As the procurement under MIS represents a tiny part of the entire production and the majority of producers have no other option to sell their C-grade apples, there are yearly images of this culled fruit being discarded on roads and waterways, it read.
The federation also mentioned the decline in fruit quality and quantity brought on the unpredictability in the weather.
“The overall result has been a 40 to 50% decrease in total output, or a loss of at least 1 million metric tonnes! The fact that a bigger percentage of this year’s supply is turning out to be subpar C-grade culled fruit is even more troubling. There will thus be no buyers for the flood of culled fruit entering the markets, even if the quantity of high-quality apples may be reduced and their market values may rise.
Citing Himachal Pradesh as an example, where a comparable situation has also arisen as a result of continuous rains and hailstorms harming the apple crop, the Federation claimed that the State government, through its procurement agencies of HPMC, has declared that the culled fruit will be procured at Rs 12 per kilo.
In light of the current situation, the AFFI requests that the J&K Administration revive the MIS and secure a sizeable portion of the culled fruit at a fair price for the 2023–2024 selling season.
According to the statement, the Administration should work with J&K HPMC to engage producers in value-added projects like turning culled fruit into apple fruit juice, jams, pickles, bread, etc., in a manner similar to Himachal Pradesh.
The Farmers’ Federation has called on the Administration to immediately implement the Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS).
The union also called for an investigation into the J&K Horticulture Department’s inability to set up sufficient weather stations that might track the spread of the scab disease from one area to another.
Reverse the import tariff decrease on Washington apples and establish a 100% import fee to protect domestic apple farmers and to control freight costs in line with Himachal Pradesh’s model.