Shimla: Irked over the recent sharp decline in the rates of apples, various farmers unions and organisations have decided to stage a protest on September 13 at Sub Division, Tehsil and Block level.

Blaming private players like Adani Agri fresh and other companies for exploiting the fruits growers, farmer unions asked the government to strictly implement APMC and introduction of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) in the state on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir.

Farmer unions have also pressed for withdrawal of a hike in the prices of cartons and trays and further asked the government to take immediate action against erring commission agents who have not made payments to the orchardists and farmers.

They have also denuded to restore the subsidy being granted on fertilizers, seeds, insecticides, fungicides and other items and to provide outstanding subsidies on sprayers, tillers and anti-hail nets immediately.

Various farmers unions on Monday had a meeting in Shimla in which discussions were held on the problems that are being faced by farmers and orchardists.

During the meeting, Coordinator of Saiyukt Kisan Manch Harish Chauhan said that about 89 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas and most of them are dependent upon agricultural and horticultural activists.

He said that today, the agriculture sector is going through a huge crisis in the country and farmers and orchardists of Himachal Pradesh are also being affected by it.

“Cost of production in agriculture is increasing continuously and farmers and horticulturists are not getting a proper price for their produce. As a result, the out livelihood and income source is in jeopardy” he said.

Chauhan said that the number of mandis is increasing in the state and APMC and other institutions that have been entrusted with the responsibility of development of the Mandis and protecting the interests of the farmers, have failed to fulfil their responsibilities.

“As a result, farmers and orchardists are not getting a fair price in the Mandis and their exploitation has increased. Farmers and orchardists are not even paid on time as per law. Even today many farmers and orchardists have not received their outstanding amounts that are to be paid by the Commission agents” he added.

Farmers’ unions have also decided to stage a massive protest on September 26 if the government fails to fulfil their demands.