Tribune News Service
Shimla, August 26
Despite apple growers expressing disappointment over the procurement prices announced by the Adani group two days back, the company’s stores saw a steady arrival of the fruit on the first day on Thursday.
“We started procuring apple from midnight and have received 13,000 crates at our Rohru plant and 15,000 crates at Rampur. By midnight, we are expecting 700-800 tonne apple at our three stores, which is around 35,000 to 40,000 boxes,” said Pankaj Mishra, plant head, Rohru store.
Trying to offer high remuneration
If we aren’t offering good rates, why will so many farmers come to us? We fix prices after surveying local and bigger mandis. Our effort is to offer 10 to 20% higher remuneration to them than mandis. —Pankaj Mishra, Rohru plant head
The arrival, which Mishra claims is better than they had on the first day of the last season, is surprising. Many apple organisations and groups, had slammed the Adani group for “poor prices” and had even given a call to boycott it this season. Even social media is buzzing with comments against the corporate and boycott call. “We fix prices after surveying the local and bigger mandis. Our effort is to offer 10 to 20 per cent higher remuneration to farmers than the mandis. And we have been doing that successfully over the past 10 years,” he said.
Another official had told The Tribune a day before that their prices were not market-driven and are fixed after discussion with the farmers.
Meanwhile, growers had mixed views about the prices. “Compared to mandis, we are happy with the prices we are getting here. One crate is fetching us around Rs 800 to Rs 900, which translates into around Rs 1,600-1,700 per box. In mandis, a 25-27 kg box is selling between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,400,” said Yashwant Chauhan, who gave his apple at the Rohru store. “We just hope the prices here don’t go down any further,” he added.
However, a grower at the Rampur plant was not happy. “I have been selling apple for the last 10 years but the rates this time are not good at all. Given how much input cost has risen, the growers will struggle to make decent profits,” said Shrawan Kumar, a grower from Kinnaur.
Harish Chauhan, president of the Apple, Vegetable and Flower Growers’ Association, feels it’s the lack of options which is forcing the farmers to sell their produce to the Adani stores. “There’s a slump in the mandis, so where will the growers go. Small and marginal growers can’t hold back their produce, so they are content with whatever price they are getting.” “Unless the government intervenes, farmers will be at the mercy of mandis and corporates. It’s high time that Kashmir-like Market Intervention Scheme should be introduced in the state,” Chauhan added.
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