Tribune News Service
Srinagar, January 10
Due to unregulated pesticide business in Kashmir, orchardists are paying more than their counterparts in other parts of the country.
The over-pricing of pesticides is causing a huge economical burden to farmers and orchardists, who have been facing losses over the years due to bad weather and absence of insurance cover from the government.
“There is no regulation on pesticide prices. If I get a kilogram of pesticide for Rs 5000, there are chances that another apple trader will get it from the same company for Rs 2000 only,” said Ghulam Hassan Rather, an apple trader from Baramulla. Rather said he had spent Rs 7 lakh on pesticides and fungicides last year when he was facing nearly Rs 40-lakh losses due to a decrease in demand for apple and no insurance cover from the government.
An orchardist, who produces 1,000 apple boxes, annually spends Rs 70,000 on pesticides in addition to expenses on labour and transportation.
“It has come to the notice of the administration that various pesticide-manufacturing companies are putting their products on sale in Kashmir on higher rates compared to rates applicable in neighbouring states,” reads a letter from Director, Agriculture, Kashmir, Altaf Aijaz Andrabi to Deputy Director, Law Enforcement, Anil Nargotra.
Officials of two pesticide manufacturing companies said post the GST, the rates were the same across the country. However, one of the officials attributed the variation in prices in “some products to Kashmir’s credit-based market”. He said in Himachal Pradesh and other northern states, farmers make advance payments to companies to get a major discount.
Deputy Director, Law Enforcement, Anil Nargotra said he had written to all private pesticide companies in Kashmir to submit the prices of their products within 10 days.
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