The Himachal Seb Udpadak Sangh has believed that the multi lateral Trade Agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO) would destroy the apple economy of the state.
Rakesh Singha, President, Himachal Seb Utpadak Sangh said that the agreement is to come into operation a year later in 2014. The WTO condition would flood the Indian market with foreign apple once the 47 percent import duty is removed along with the 10 percent surcharge on it, Singha worried. He lamented that the central and state governments have failed to take steps to combat these challenges which would ruin the apple growers of the state.
The Seb Utpadak Sangh is critical of the Central Government, after signing a bi-lateral trade agreement with Afghanistan under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement, duty free apple from Iran is being smuggled into India. The price of this smuggled apple from Iran has posed a serious challenge to the Himachali apple. This winter the cold store apple price suddenly crashed as fresh apple from Iran was available in the Indian market which varied between Rs. 1200 to Rs 1400 per 20 kg box.
The Seb Utpadak Sangh was opposed to all policies which are detrimental to the state economy. The Sangh will campaign amongst the apple growers to educate them on the harmful conditions of the WTO. It has asked the state Government to pressurize the Central Government to check the smuggling of Iranian apple through Afghanistan into the Indian market.
The Seb Utpadak Sangh has also stated it will not tolerate the bullying tactics of the commission agents in the Dhalli market where they have made a unilateral decision of creating a price difference of 20 percent between the six layers Pittu and the other grades of apple. The Sangh has appealed to the commission agents not to create a conflict between the arthyias and the growers and withdraw this artificial difference of price. The commission agents are well aware the apple like all other fruit is sold by weight in the retail market, such artificial difference is to garner super profits at the cost of the farmers.
The Seb Utpadak Sangh threaten to launch the agitation against this illogical price fixing by the commission agents.