Jalandhar: The Mahila Kisan Union, affiliated to the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, has demanded from the Himachal Pradesh government to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all types of apples and implementation of Agricultural Producer Market Committee (APMC) rules so as to control the marketing of apple produce besides providing mmediate financial relief to apple growers due to loss in the production, including abolition of GST on packaging material, agricultural inputs and implements for orchards.
Expressing solidarity with the growers of the hill states, Mahila Kisan Union President Biba Rajwinder Kaur Raju urged the Central and state Governments to procure the total production of apples through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFD) and State Procurement Agencies thereby protecting the apple growers from the shocks of falling prices.
She also demanded that the weighing and testing of apples be ensured by the corporate companies in the presence of the producers so that the growers could be saved from loot.
Criticizing the BJP-led state government, the women farmer leader said the saffron government has completely failed to fulfilled its poll promises of providing processing centers in Himachal with adequate cold storage facilities, packaging material, better roads to villages and transport facilities for orchards. Thus leaving big corporate companies like Adani and Reliance etc. open to buy fruits at relatively low prices of a decade, she alleged.
Seeking immediate relief for the state’s apple industry, farmer leader Biba Raju urged the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to provide farm implements, fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides to the farmers on subsidy so that farmers could avail better prices of their agricultural produce and reduce the cost of production, adding she said it would save the fruit cultivation from further destruction.