Hundreds of Apple growers of Himachal, Uttarakhand , Jammu & Kashmir stages Dharna at Jantar Mantar

In a first-of-its-kind demonstration, about 500 apple growers from the three-core apple-producing states of India – Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand – held a one-day protest at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on April 4, 2023, to denounce the anti-horticulture policies of the Union government. These policies have enabled large agribusiness corporate houses to make huge profits while the growers face a decline in their incomes.

The demonstration was addressed by Rakesh Singha (Ex MLA), Sohan Singh Thakur (HP), Puran Thakur (HP), Dr Kuldeep Tanwar (HP), Sanjay Chauhan (former Mayor Shimla city), Dr Kuldeep Tanwar (HP), Zahoor Ahmad Rather (JK), Abdul Rashid Pandit (JK), Mohd Shah Budgam (JK), Gangadhar Nautiyal (Uttrakhand) and others.

The leadership of All India Kisan Sabha, Vijoo Krishnan (General Secretary), Dr Ashok Dhawale (President), Hannan Mollah (Vice President), and P Krishnaprasad (Finance Secretary) extended solidarity to the demonstration. Vikram Singh (Joint Secretary, AIAWU) and Mariam Dhawale (General Secretary, AIDWA) also extended their greetings.

The apple growers, divided by state boundaries but united in their effort to save the Apple Economy, presented a 9-point Charter of Demands during the demonstration. One of the major demand was the withdrawal of eviction orders that had been served to farmers in J&K by the administration of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. The Forest Department in Himachal Pradesh has also been sending out such draconian eviction notices in recent years. Along with this, the demand for remunerative prices for A, B and C grade apples as well as revival for Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) was kept forth.

Other than this, the following demands have been set forth by apple growers under the banner of AFFI:

  1. Set Genuine Freight Charges in J&K.
  2. Declare Apple’s Profitable Value.
  3. Impose 100% Import Duty on Apple.
  4. Mandate Universal Carton for Packaging.
  5. Provide Fertilisers, Cartons at Cheap Rates to Farmers.
  6. Remove GST on All Products Connected to Apple.
  7. Import Only Tested Varieties of Apple.
  8. Regulate Private Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Stores.

It is worth noting that an AFFI delegation had submitted a detailed memorandum to the Union Minister of Agriculture, Sh. Narendra Singh Tomar on July 28, 2022, outlining the aforementioned demands. However, despite the submission of the memorandum, the Minister failed to take action, and as a result, the apple economy suffered a setback due to market conditions and climatic aberrations during the marketing season of 2022.

AFFI has resolved to build an organized movement against the anti-farmer and anti-horticultural policies of the Union government, with the slogan of ‘Save Apple Economy, Save Apple Farmers’. #AFFI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *