Himachal Pradesh apple growers are frustrated as farm-gate prices are dropping to a 10-year low. They now demand federal intervention and policy support. Orchard owners have asked the federal government to implement the Kashmir formula in Himachal as well, to cushion cultivators from a price shock.
New Delhi, through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), buys apples from Kashmiri farmers at Rs 60, Rs 44 and Rs 24 per kg, depending on output quality. Himachal’s apple growers want that benefit extended to them as well.
Prices have fallen to Rs 1,000- Rs 1,200 per box. Apple boxes weighing 22-35 kg are being sold for Rs 500 to Rs 1,200 in local markets, whereas consumers in cities are paying more. Due to poor road infrastructure and non-availability of cold chains, growers are forced to sell apples to commission agents at a lower price, and the agents then sell the produce to big companies.
[ Rs 100 = €1.20 ]