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Himachal's new apple trade regulations could enhance market dynamics

In an effort to improve market dynamics for apple growers, the Himachal Pradesh government has introduced regulations that enable out-of-state buyers to directly purchase apples from the state's orchardists in fruit mandis. This policy aims to break the monopoly of commission agents and create a competitive marketplace.

Out-of-state buyers will be permitted to engage directly with fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh, as part of a wider strategy to stimulate competition and secure better pricing for local fruit producers. To support this initiative, the government will allocate shops to loaders in the mandis, enhancing accessibility and fostering a competitive market environment.

The Agricultural Produce Marketing Board has been instructed by Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi to begin the process of implementing these changes, with a meeting scheduled this week to finalize details.

The government's plan includes issuing licences and providing space in the APMC mandis for arhtiyas (commission agents) and traders from other states. "We will give them platforms and offices in our market yards alongside the local arhtiyas to buy fruit through auction. The idea is to introduce greater competition among the arhtiyas, which will benefit fruit growers and farmers," Negi explained.

Following amendments to the existing rules, this new system is anticipated to be in place this year, leading to potentially higher apple prices due to increased competition. Currently, the state's APMC mandis are dominated by commission agents, with licenses issued under the APMC Act requiring annual renewal. Provisions will also be made for roadside apple buyers and transporters from other states to obtain shops within the mandis.


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