Shimla, June 16
The Hill State Horticulture Forum, which comprises fruit and vegetable growers from Himachal, Uttarakhand and the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, today urged Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, to increase import duty on apple to 100 per cent. Besides, the forum also urged the minister to check illegal import of apple from Iran and other neighbouring countries through Afghanistan without paying import duty.
“The import of apple through Afghanistan will prove disastrous for small and marginal fruit growers of the state. The sale of this apple in mandis meant for domestic growers have already pulled down the prices by 30 per cent to 40 per cent,” the forum said. “If this continues, local farmers will have no market left for their produce,” it added.
The forum said that the import duty on apple should be 100 per cent and the quantity of apple to be imported should be fixed to safeguard the interests of the domestic growers. “Also, the horticulture produce in these state and UTs should be brought under the MSP,” it added.
Harish Chauhan, convener of the forum, said Anurag assured them of help. “The state has estimated the losses to be a little over Rs 250 crore. The actual losses are over Rs 500 crore,” he said — TNS
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