Himachal seeks enhancement of import duty on apples

New Delhi, Aug 3: Himachal Pradesh Government on Wednesday requested the Centre to enhance the import duty on apple fruits to safeguard the interests of apple growers of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states.

Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta called on Union Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma in the Parliament House today, and told him that developed countries like China has dumped the apples in domestic market, which has crashed the apple market as a result of which the apple growers in Himachal Pradesh alone has suffered a loss of around 100 crore during the current apple season.

Bragta said that the NDA Government had increased the import duty on apples to the level of 50 percent in the year 2000-2001 on personal intervention of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on the request of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister rem Kumar Dhumal, but the current onslaught of imported apples has created alarming situation, which needs to be tackled on emergency basis.

He requested the Central Government to designate the apple as ” Special Product ” to protect the interests of apple growers.

Bragta told Anand Sharma around six lakh metric tonnes apple production per annum is recorded in the state, which accounts for more than 80 percent of total fruit production.

He said that apple fruit is grown in nine districts out of total 12 districts of the state and around 1.6 lakh families are dependent on apple cultivations.

Bragta further said that apple production in the state ranges from 6.5 M.T to 8 M.T per hactare due to small land holding and adverse weather conditions, while around 40 M.T per hactare production is recorded in advanced countries due to plain land and extensive use of farm mechanizations.

He requested the Central Government to intervene directly in form of protection through higher tarriffs immediately so as to save the economic interests of the apple growing families in the hilly states.

Anand Sharma appreciated the issue raised by the Himachal Pradesh Government and ensured positive action of the Centre in this regard. (ANI)