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HP Govt for universal carton, weight-based selling for apples in first year

Shimla, July 4

In response to the demands of commission agents and farmers belonging to the BJP, Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi has firmly stated that the government will not allow the exploitation of apple growers by permitting the sale of overweight cartons in the markets.

Addressing the media, the Minister emphasized that efforts to continue the exploitative practice of selling cartons weighing between 25 to 32 kilograms are driven by the pressure from middlemen and motivated farmers’ leaders. He emphasized that the government cannot allow such exploitation of farmers, particularly the small and marginal apple growers. The Minister affirmed the government’s commitment to implementing the universal carton system, which was approved in 2013.

The Minister further stated that apples would now be sold based on weight, per kilogram. The government will also reconsider the current ceiling of 24 kilograms after a meeting with officials tomorrow.

The Minister added that a decision would be made soon regarding the sale of apples weighing 24 kilograms or more. He noted that the apple season has commenced in the state, and for the first time, apples are being sold in apple markets based on their weight.

Responding to concerns about packing 24-kilogram apple cartons, the Minister explained that according to the universal grading system, boxes typically do not contain more than 24 kilograms of apples. However, since this is the first year of selling apples based on weight, farmers are currently selling them in crates instead of boxes, even if the weight exceeds 24 kilograms.

Also read:Himachal Pradesh Shifts to Universal Cartons and Weight-Based Sales for Apple/Fruits

The Minister clarified that farmers can use any packaging they prefer, but the sale will be based solely on the weight of the apples.

He acknowledged that some individuals opposing the new universal carton system are spreading misconceptions and causing confusion. The Minister emphasized that the new system aims to end the exploitation of apple growers by eliminating the sale of overweight telescopic cartons.

He reiterated that apples will be sold in the market according to their weight, regardless of whether farmers bring packaging in 5-kilogram, 24-kilogram, or larger quantities.

Some farmers, who bring 24-kilogram apple boxes to the market, have complained that commission agents are illegally deducting weight from 24 kilograms to 22 kilograms.

Jagat Singh Negi mentioned that the government had initially imposed a ceiling of 24 kilograms in the interest of the public. However, if amendments are necessary, the government is open to discussion and will make a decision after consulting with officials in tomorrow’s meeting.

While the Congress party continues to criticize the Narendra Modi government at the center for reducing apple import duty from 70 percent to 50 percent, a few BJP leaders have opposed the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government regarding the implementation of the universal carton system and the sale of apples based on weight.

Interestingly, some middlemen and commission agents who are against the universal carton system indirectly support the BJP leaders opposing the new apple marketing system.



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