Agri Business

Calamity-struck J&K apple growers demand special assistance of ₹1,000 crore

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 02, 2019 Published on December 02, 2019

A delegation representing apple growers from Jammu and Kashmir on Monday called on Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and demanded that the government declare the apple crisis in the valley a national calamity and give farmers a special interim assistance of ₹1,000 crore to tide over the crisis.

The delegation, which consisted of representatives of J&K apple farmers and leaders of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, said in a statement that the political turmoil in the aftermath of the withdrawal of Article 370 in August and heavy unseasonal snowfall in November had a devastating effect on apple farms.

Similarly, crops such as pear, cherry and grapes, which were harvested prior to August, were stuck due to the complete shutdown in the valley and the collapse of transport and communications, it said.

The apple crop, on the other hand, was affected because the farmers could not commence picking — due since September — owing to the political crisis. There was a severe shortage of labour in apple orchards and no transport facility since trucks were not allowed in villages and interior roads.

In the majority of orchards, nearly half the apple produce had fallen and was ruined causing a huge loss to apple farmers, the statement added.

Even though the Central government introduced a Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) by engaging NAFED. the state-owned firm procured only 7,920 tonnes, below 1 per cent of the annual production, which, on an average, touches 18 lakh tonnes.

In the place of 200-300 procurement centres which used to be in operation in the private sector, NAFED had opened two or three centres in districts, the delegation informed the Minister.

Published on December 02, 2019
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