Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta said that State Government would constitute a Committee as per international standards for making viable use of standard universal cartons. He was presiding over a high-level meeting with representatives of fruit grower associations and progressive farmers here today to discuss the utility of standard universal cartons in the State. He said that the committee would give its suggestions on using standard universal cartons as per the International standard for marketing of apples after taking the views and suggestions of fruit growers of the State.
He said that Himachal Pradesh had stepped into international markets it was necessary that the fruit growers of the State should be ready to keep abreast with the ongoing competition in the international market where China, America and other European countries had already entered. The State Government had already taken effective steps for helping the fruit growers of the State so that they could compete in international market. He added that it was an important issue and State Government was committed to protect the rights of the fruit growers and an amicable decision would be taken with a common consensus of fruit growers associations and other progressive farmers.
Horticulture Minister said that various important decisions had been taken during the past four years for the welfare of fruit growers. The Weather based Crop Insurance Scheme had been started in 27 Blocks to compensate the losses caused to apple and mango growers of the State due to vagaries of nature. Similarly, anti-hail and Radar gun systems had been set up in Shimla district on pilot basis to prevent the menace of hail storm in apple crop. A detail project report of Rs. 400 crore had been sent to the Government of India for installing anti-hail guns in different parts of the State. Norms of assistance under horticulture mission had also been revised as per the need of the hilly State. On the other hand Apple Re-plantation Project worth Rs.85 crore had also been introduced to improve apple productivity through replacement of senile apple plantations in 12500 acre area.
Khushi Ram Balnahta and Heera Lal, MLAs, also expressed their views and said that standard universal cartons would prove beneficial in the present scenario. V.C. Pharka, Principal Secretary Horticulture and Dr. Gurdev Singh, Director Horticulture, detailed the various schemes and activities being undertaken by the department for the welfare of the fruit growers.
The representatives of various fruit growers associations and progressive farmers also interacted on the issue and welcomed the initiative taken by the State Government and assured the Minister of full support.