Himachal Kisan Sabha and Himachal Apple Growers' Association will hold rallies at several blocks protesting against alleged anti-growers policies by the state government, pushing the apple-economy into deep crisis.
The rallies which would be held on August 1 in apple growing districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu and Mandi, would also highlight issues like non-payment of dues to farmers by commission agents, fallout of allowing duty free import of apple under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and failure of the government to put in place any regulatory mechanism to save the sinking apple economy.
Addressing a press conference, Rakesh Singha, president of Apple Growers' Association said, state's investment in agriculture has been reduced and the government has no vision and perspective to meet the challenges of the trade.
Once the WTO laws come into operation from 2014, these factors would hit apple growers and production cost, which has increased between 23 an 35 per cent, would further rise and farmers with small land holdings would be worst sufferers, he cautioned.
Singha said a large number of commission agents of the unregulated markets are fleecing small and marginal growers by selling apples of less than 60 mm size at 40 per cent less than the other fruits which is illegal.