Horticulture Minister’s announcement: Apples to be sold in Universal cartons from next year
Shimla, Sept 23
In a significant announcement, Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi declared that apples in Himachal Pradesh will be sold in universal cartons starting next year. This rule will be rigorously enforced, with the complete phasing out of telescopic cartons for apple packing. The decision to sell apples on a kilo basis this year has already proven beneficial for local growers, who have received higher rates for their produce.
Furthermore, the government is actively engaging with other states to encourage the sale of apples by weight, even beyond Himachal’s borders. Minister Negi emphasized that if other states do not cooperate, the Himachal government is prepared to pursue legal options to enforce this practice.
Minister Negi highlighted the advantages of selling apples by weight, stating that it has led to higher earnings for farmers, with some receiving prices of up to Rs 4000 per box.
In response to concerns raised by Theog MLA Kuldeep Rathore regarding the strict implementation of selling apples by weight, Minister Negi clarified that the decision has been effectively enforced, and apples are now sold by weight in all markets. To ensure compliance, a fine of ₹22 lakh has been imposed on brokers who disregarded these rules.
Both the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and Revenue Department officials have been actively involved in implementing this decision, leading to increased satisfaction among gardeners regarding the practice of selling apples by weight.
Theog MLA Kuldeep Rathore advocated for the implementation of universal cartons to eliminate confusion among gardeners. He commended the government’s historic decision to sell apples based on weight and the imposition of a 24 kg packing requirement. However, he urged the government to enforce these regulations more strictly, emphasizing their importance to thousands of gardeners in the state.
Minister Negi also discussed the recent G-20 conference, which incurred significant expenses exceeding ₹4,000 crores. He highlighted that apple-producing states, including Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand, suffered substantial losses as a result of the event. He attributed these losses to the reduction in import duty on apples from 75 percent to 50 percent by the Central Government following the G-20 conference. He noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously advocated for an increase in import duty during his visit to Hamirpur but has since changed his stance, which could exacerbate the losses incurred by apple states.
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