Shimla: With a severe crisis on over Rs 5,000 crore apple industry in the state, Himachal Kisan Samyukta Manch has threatened to hold demonstrations on September 13 at the tehsil, block and sub-divisional headquarters in the state to press for their demand of remunerative price for the apple produce.

The decision was taken jointly by members of various farmers’ organizations that converged together to save the apple economy of the state on which the livelihood of lakhs of farmers was dependent.

The representatives of the farmers’ organizations rued that the government was turning a blind eye to the plight of the farmers that are suffering owing to the crash in apple procurement prices in the markets.

It was further decided that if the demands were still not met in spite of the demonstration on September 13, they will again hold demonstrations across the state on September 26.

A meeting of various farmers’ organizations was held in Shimla on Monday, regarding the issues of farmers and horticulturists in the state.

During the meeting, Himachal Kisan Samyukta Manch was formed to raise the demands of farmers and horticulturists.

Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh and CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha were also present. They underlined the need to rise above party lines to raise the voice of the farmers and horticulturists in unison.

Singha said, ” He said that there was a need to impress upon the state government for implementation of Himachal Pradesh Agricultural and Horticultural Produce Marketing Development and Regulation Act- 2005 in letter and spirit.”

“It is a matter of grave concern, that the state which takes pride in being an apple-growing belt at a national and international stage, has the apple crop and its growers facing a severe crisis. If the elected government is not standing with the farmers and horticulturists, it will be remembered as a black day in the history of the state. We need to work together with serious efforts and responsibly to save the state from the deep crisis,” he said.

He assured to raise the issue at all possible levels, including Vidhan Sabha.

Manch convenor Harish Chauhan informed that about 89 percent of the people in the state live in villages and the main source of employment and livelihood of most of them is agriculture and horticulture.

“Today, due to the crisis of agriculture in the country, the crisis of farmers and horticulturists of the state is also increasing. The cost of production in agriculture is increasing and farmers and horticulturists are not getting a proper price for their produce, which is deepening the crisis of their livelihood.

He said that the economy of apple in the state is Rs 5000 crores and APMC has not been successful in handling the economy of Apple.

Farmers, gardeners are not getting a fair price in the mandis. Due to the poor system of APMC, farmers and gardeners are not even getting their products paid on time.

The farmers impressed on the demand to stop the exploitation of farmers in the mandis of the state, apples of A, B and C grades should be bought here on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir.

The APMC Act should be implemented strictly in the mandis and the Illegal fleecing from farmers by the commission agents, Arthiyas should be stopped, arrangements should be made to make timely payment of their produce to the farmers and horticulturist, the increase in the prices of cartons and trays should be withdrawn, were other demands of the farmers.

The joint forum has also demanded the withdrawal of the hike in freight rates.