Farmers protesting against falling prices of apples.
Apple growing farmers said that the prices of apples have fallen from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per box. In local markets, cans of apples weighing 22-35 kg are being sold for Rs 500 to Rs 1,200, while consumers in cities are paying more.
There is anger among the apple growers of Himachal Pradesh as the price of the fruit has come down to a 10-year low. The orchard owners have urged the Center to implement the Kashmir formula in Himachal as well as save the farmers from losses due to low prices. Through the new National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), it buys apples from Kashmiri farmers at Rs 60, Rs 44 and Rs 24 per kg depending on the quality of production. The apple growers of Himachal want that they should also get the benefit of this.
big companies making profit
Apple growing farmers said that the prices of apples have fallen from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per box. In local markets, cans of apples weighing 22-35 kg are being sold for Rs 500 to Rs 1,200, while consumers in cities are paying more. Due to poor roads, infrastructure and unavailability of cold chains, growers are forced to sell apples to commission agents at low prices, and the agents then sell the produce to larger companies. Apple growers allege that these big companies make profits by selling these apples to consumers at a higher price.
Demand to curb apple import
Farmers also want the government to curb imports from Iran and other countries through Afghanistan under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). This year, apple prices have come down drastically and are at a 10-year low, says Rajiv Chauhan, president of the Himalayan Apple Growers Society. We have brought this to the notice of the Himachal Pradesh government. Himachal Pradesh has produced 30-35 million kg of apples this year.
Bumper production also affected in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
The producers have already organized demonstrations and agitations in the state to draw the attention of the government to the issue of falling prices. This year there was a bumper crop in Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Himachal had a low yield last year, therefore, Irani apples were liked by both wholesalers and retailers. Chouhan said that these apples are flooding the market, forcing the local growers to sell apples to commission agents at prices much below the cost of production.
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