Himachal apple growers seek government aid as industry faces slump

Shimla, May 16: Apple growers across Himachal Pradesh are seeking help from the state government to boost the apple industry.

Hundreds of apple growers assembled here to talk about the methods by which fruit production could be increased before the industry fell prey to increasing apple imports from countries like China and America.

“When the international trade community is set up then in the next two years this trade would open up further. So, the production in Himachal Pradesh would not be able to compete with other international producers such as China, America, New Zealand, Australia and Chile. So, it is not possible for us to progress without the help of the government. And we would like to demand the government that the way they support farmers’ development for production,” said Rakesh Singha, apple growers’ leader.

“We manually work to produce apples but in other countries they produce it using machines, and subsidy is also high. But the subsidy here is not so high. We are exploited, so that is why I feel the government should help us,” said Surinder Nainta, an apple grower.

The apple growers also said on one hectare, only 6-7 metric tonnes of apples are produced, which means 300-350 rupees per kilogram.

As per the farmers till date not over 20 million cartons of apples have been produced. About 111,000 metric tonnes were bought by the government but seven months have gone by not a single penny has reached the farmers, they said.

The farmers’ union is planning to give a memorandum to the government by June. (ANI)