The Centre’s initiative to procure apples in Kashmir through cooperative Nafed has “failed miserably” as only 0.01 per cent (1.36 lakh boxes) of 11 crore boxes has been purchased directly from growers so far, a farmers body claimed on Saturday.
Returning from a field visit to the valley, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) demanded that the Centre should provide compensation to apple and other horticulture crops growers in Kashmir who have incurred losses due to unseasonal heavy snowfall as well as from lack of transport and cold storage assistance due to the political turmoil in the newly formed union territory.
The Centre decided to
procure apples in the region in the
wake of terrorists threatening some apple growers not to sell their produce in the market following abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union
“The government authorised Nafed to carry-out procurement but this operation failed miserably. Lack of experience and infrastructure meant that NAFED has procured 0.01 per cent of the estimated produce (1.36 lakh boxes out of more than 11 crore boxes),” the AIKSCC said in a statement.
Farmers have complained that the Nafed procurement had disruptive effect since it has sold apple in the sale market at lower prices that brought down the wholesale apple prices in the procurement market, it noted.
Kashmir produces 75 per cent of the country’s total apple production and the horticulture industry of Kashmir has a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore annually.
“If 70 per cent loss (as is being claimed by the growers and representatives of commerce and industry) is true, then this will devastate the livelihood of the people of Kashmir for years to come,” the farmers’ body said.