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Farmer unions in Himachal Pradesh to protest today against falling apple prices

Farmers have warned of a ‘mega protest’ on September 26 if the state government does not take corrective measures.

Apple growers in Himachal Pradesh, reeling due to the plummeting price of the fruit in the wholesale market, will on Monday hold a statewide agitation against the government over what they allege is its failure to protect the interests of apple cultivating farmers in the hill state.

Samyukt Kisan Manch (SKM), an umbrella body of various farmer unions, announced on August 30 that a protest will take place on September 13 against falling prices of apple in the state, as well as various issues pertaining to apple cultivation here. The decision to stage this protest was taken in a meeting which was attended by representatives of around 20 farmer unions and politicians from across party lines, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While today’s demonstrations will be held at block and subdivisional levels, the SKM has warned of a “mega protest” on September 26 if the Himachal Pradesh government fails to take corrective measures.

The SKM has also raised 10 main demands, which include the implementation of the market intervention scheme (MIS) to prevent apple cultivators from being exploited. The forum has demanded that under the MIS, grade A, B and C apples should have a support price of ₹60, ₹44 and ₹24 per kg respectively.

Withdrawal of increase in transportation charges, permission to allow sale of apple and other fruit crops on the basis of weight, and reinstating subsidy on fretilisers, seeds, insecticides, fungicides and farm tools are also among the demands raised by farmers.

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