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Home / News / India /  Himachal Pradesh fruit growers seek ban on apple import, urge govt to release 24-crore dues. See details

Himachal Pradesh fruit growers seek ban on apple import, urge govt to release 24-crore dues. See details

The fruit growers sought a blanket ban on apple imports, and demanded that the import duty on the fruit be increased in the meantime. (REUTERS)Premium
The fruit growers sought a blanket ban on apple imports, and demanded that the import duty on the fruit be increased in the meantime. (REUTERS)

  • A delegation of fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh, led by Jubbal-Kotkhai legislator Rohit Thakur, called on the state governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar seeking intervention in the matter

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 The fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh urged the state government to release the 24 crore it owes them for fruits bought under the marketing intervention scheme in the wake of the apple season approaching,

The state government is yet to release payment for fruits procured over the last three years. In 2021 alone, government agencies – Himachal Pradesh State Co-operative Marketing and Consumers Federation Ltd (Himfed) and Horticultural Produce Marketing Corporation (HPMC) – procured nearly 70,000 metric tonnes of apples under the scheme, as per Hindustan Times report.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a delegation of fruit growers, led by Jubbal-Kotkhai legislator Rohit Thakur, called on governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and sought his intervention in the matter. Asserting that apple growers contribute 13.5% to the state’s gross domestic product, Thakur, a three-time legislator, said, “The horticulture industry is going through a tough time due to ever-increasing input costs. I have sought the governor’s intervention for the immediate release of pending arrears."

Additionally, in the memorandum submitted to Arlekar, growers demanded that the goods and service tax (GST) on packaging material be reduced, the subsidies on insecticides and pesticides be restored and the price of fungicides be controlled. “There has been a 40-50% increase in the price of packaging material. A bundle of apple packaging trays now costs around 200. Private suppliers attribute the increase in cost to the 12%-18% increase in GST. Earlier, HPMC and Himfed would invite tenders for supplying cartons. However, as they have discontinued with the practice, there is no control on prices," stated the memorandum.

Notably, the fruit growers sought a blanket ban on apple imports, and demanded that the import duty on the fruit be increased in the meantime. “Due to a 50% import duty, imported apples are flooding the Indian market, causing huge losses to the apple growers. Apples from Turkey and Iran adversely impact the prices of Himachal apples in cold storage. The BJP had said that apples will be given special-product status, and the import duty on apples will be increased, but to no avail," the growers said.

It is worth noting that recently, the per capita consumption of different fruits and vegetables in India has increased between 15-25%, just as the import and demand for fresh produce, frozen, cut and packed products and beverages have gone up. According to trade sources, the supply of these products will be rising further, keeping in view its nutritional values. Consequently, Indian growers have been buying more planting materials of fresh produce like banana, strawberry, blueberry, citrus fruits, etc., to cater to the rising demand. Investments from major corporate and big growers in hi-tech greenhouses and hydroponic projects are adding value to the horticulture industry in India in terms of commercialization.

Indian Imports of has been doubled in the last year as per the sources of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a report released by Fresh Intelligence analysis, which noted that Apple imports more than doubled year-on-year to a record high of 436,194 tonnes, up from 215,538 tonnes in 2020, and major exporters are Iran, Turkey, Chile, Italy, the UAE, New Zealand, Brazil, Afghanistan and USA.

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