The decision to fix the minimum import price for apples at Rs 50 has been criticized by Congress MLA Kuldeep Rathore, who argues that it will not benefit growers in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir and Uttarakhand. Rathore has instead called for an increase in import duty on apples from 50% to 100% to provide relief to horticulturists.
In a statement, Rathore accused the BJP of pretending to be well-wishers of the apple industry while failing to fulfill a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 to increase the import duty on apples. He pointed out that the value of apples imported from Iran is about $1.82 million, while in India, apples worth about $385 million are imported from different countries.
Rathore argued that fixing the minimum import price would not address the problem of bulk imports from countries like the USA, Turkey, New Zealand, Chile, and Poland. He warned that failure to increase the import duty on apples could destroy the apple industry in Himachal Pradesh, which is worth Rs 5000 crore.
The decision to fix the minimum import price for apples was hailed by BJP leaders as historical, but Rathore has urged them to take action to fulfill the promise made by Modi in 2014. He argued that only an increase in import duty would provide real relief to horticulturists and ensure that growers in Himachal Pradesh and other states get fair prices for their produce.
The apple industry is an important source of livelihood for many people in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, and Uttarakhand. The government’s decision to fix the minimum import price for apples may provide some relief to growers, but as Rathore has pointed out, it may not be enough to address the larger issue of bulk imports from other countries. The government will need to take more concrete steps to support the apple industry and ensure that growers get fair prices for their produce.