We have recommended the extension to govt: Dir Horticulture
Fearing huge losses in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Valley-based apple growers have urged government to extend the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), under which government procures the produce directly from the growers.
Riyaz Ahmad Malik, an apple grower from Rafiabad area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla told Rising Kashmir that following the Covid-19 pandemic situation and bad weather conditions during March this year, the production and supply of fruit have been largely hit in the valley.
“At least 70 percent of the apples are engulfed with scab in our orchards while only 30 percent of the fruit is good to export to other states. It is duty of the government to help the growers at this stage by extending MIS and procure our fruit,” he said.
Malik said there is fear among the apple growers that in view of Covid-19 the demand of the fruit will be less this time around.
Zahoor Ahmad Thoker, Shopian based apple grower said last year also they got some benefit from MIS scheme but this season it seems administration has no plans.
“Horticulture is a backbone of the J&K’s economy but apple growers are being neglected. The concerned department has failed to check the sub-standard pesticides available in the market and only issue scientific advisories,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir administration is mulling to extend the MIS for this year too. Former Lt. Governor GC Murmu has sent a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs for the extention.
A senior official at administration wishing anonymity told Rising Kashmir that they have already conveyed central government about importance of MIS this year and hopefully, they will get a green signal soon.
“We are waiting for their nod and after that, we would start procuring the fruit directly from the growers,” he said.
However, Chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFG), Bashir Ahmad Basheer said government should re-introduce MIS in Kashmir at the earliest.
“Admin should re-introduce MIS and procure ‘Grade C’ apple against the cost of Rs 30 per Kg,” he said.
Baseer also stated that administration should also consider fallen apples within the purview of MIS and treated as par with ‘Grade C’ apples for its procurement.
Director Horticulture Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat told Rising Kashmir that department has already recommended the extension of MIS for this year to the government.
“We have recommended it but the department is not final authority to take a call on this,” he said.
Last year, the government had procured 15.9 thousand metric tonnes of apple at a total cost of Rs 70.52 crore under MIS scheme. The move had played an important role in stabilising prices and preventing distress sales.