SRINAGAR: In wake of the suspension of the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) by the central government, the Apple Farmers’ Federation of India’s J&K Committee on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha seeking revival of MIS in JK.
The memorandum highlighted that inclement weather conditions like unseasonal rains in July and prolonged dry spells in August-September have led to a 40-50% drop in apple production this year. The crop damage has been particularly severe in traditional orchards, it said.
“A larger proportion of the remaining crop is also inferior grade ‘C’ fruit. But the removal of MIS this year leaves no backup support for prices of such fruit. In previous years, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) procured C-grade apples under MIS to provide a price floor for farmers,” read a statement issued to the press.
The Federation has demanded the revival of MIS in J&K and procurement of culled fruit by the UT’s Horticulture Department. It has suggested processing of culled fruit into juices, jams, pickles on the lines of Himachal Pradesh. The HP government has announced the procurement of inferior quality apples at Rs 12/kg this year.
Seeking relief measures, the Federation has also asked for immediate implementation of Crop Insurance Scheme, more weather stations to predict disease outbreaks, higher import duties on imported Washington apples and freight regulation on the Himachal model.
The J&K administration is yet to respond to the demands of the apple growers. But the crisis requires urgent action as the harvest season is underway and farmers are suffering huge losses, the Federation stressed.