“Growers Magarmach Ke Munh Mei Hai”
“Spurious Pesticides, Problems In Storage At CA Stores”
“Frauds In Plantation Of High Density Apple Orchards, CA Stores
“Inflated Estimates Prepared, Loot Shared”
Mir Mohd Amin
President, Fruit Mandi, Aglar ,Shopian
The zaika of Kashmir’s apples cannot be matched globally. But the government is not facilitating the growers. Government provides storage facilities for the welfare and benefit of fruit growers. Subsidies and incentives are provided for the upliftment of fruit growers. But we growers feel so helpless because we do not receive any benefits. It seems that a mafia has monopolized all these facilities. Vo growers ka kamar tod dete hain. Growers are not able to make any reasonable profit. Sab kuchh crop ke kharche mein chala jaata hai. It seems that a strong mafia of rich players controls CA Stores, fertilizers, pesticides etc. They do manmani. They have the upper hand. Growers have no say.
Grower Not Allowed To Take Out Fruit From CA Store When He Wants
For example, the grower stores his fruit in the Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Stores. But the grower cannot take out his produce when he wants. If he finds a good price in the market and wants to take out his produce, he is told by the CA Store owner – we cannot open the chamber for one grower. We shall open it only when all the growers come.
This is the monopoly in play. They want to increase the rent period for the CA Store. The grower is at their mercy.
Major Problem Regarding Spurious Pesticides
One of our most pressing problems is regarding the supply of spurious pesticides. Nobody is looking into such a serious issue. In the PM Package, funds were provided for growers. All these funds were cornered by the bigwigs. We only come to know that allocation of Rs 40 crore to Rs 45 crore has been made for growers. But all of it is cornered by business tycoons. The growers do not get any benefit.
Fertilizers, pesticides – all these major inputs are in the hands of the rich forces. They determine the rate. Nobody is bothered about the grower. The grower is in the mouth of the crocodiles here.
Nobody Is Bothered About The Ambri Apple Of Kashmir
This variety of apple is indigenous to Kashmir. It is highly superior because of its crisp and sweet flesh and excellent aroma. This apple has a longer shelf life and is a excellent dessert variety. But the government did not make the right efforts to further develop this variety of apple. The government system is so gair zimmedar that they have finished this variety of the indigenous Kashmir apple. It was replaced by imported and highly commercialized advanced substitute varieties of apple trees.
I feel sad that the government did not take the initiative to preserve the traditional legacy of Ambri in Kashmir. Apple growers are told to plant the high density trees. This is because all those linked with the promotion of high density apple trees get huge commission for it. Unhone local varieties ke baagon ke baag khatam kar diye. High density apple fruit has no shelf life. But still, all focus is only on those trees, not on the development of the indigenous varieties of Kashmir.
The Fraud Over Subsidy For High Density Apple Trees
The government gives 50 per cent subsidy to the farmers who plant high density trees.
If a farmer plants high density apple orchard without any government subsidy, his total kharcha is Rs 1.37 lakh for one kanal. When a farmer finances the high density plantation through the government, the government officers tell him to show total kharcha of Rs 2.50 lakh for one kanal. The deal is that Rs 1.25 lakh is to be given to the government officials, and the farmer keeps Rs 1.25 lakh.
This is only a small example of the way the entire fruit trade is monopolized by the system and the grower is used like a pawn.
The Fraud Over Setting Up Of CA Stores
If the cost of setting up a CA Store is Rs 15 crore, it is shown as Rs 32 crore in the project report made in collaboration with the government officials. This is because all are hand-in-glove for the loot.
All these schemes are brought to Kashmir in the interest of the growers. But even after the loot, the interests of the growers are not protected.
Suppose farmers want to keep their produce in the CA Store. But the cost of storage is very high. A major part of his earning will go into keeping fruit in the CA store. If the interest of the grower was protected, the cost of keeping fruit in CA store would be lower. It would also be easy for him to take out fruit from the CA store. But the grower suffers on both these fronts.
Horticulture Dept Should Answer Why Kashmiri Apple Is Not Preferred In Off-Season By Elite Buyers
Please ask this question to the Horticulture Department. Why are Kashmiri Apples not preferred in off-season by elite buyers?
We also don’t like this situation. But what can we do? All facilities and all schemes are supposed to be for the grower. The government must examine how much we are truly benefitting from these schemes. Who is taking the benefit of these schemes by hook or crook?
The Horticulture Department gets such huge funds. But Kashmiri apples suffer because they don’t get proper technology. Year after year, we face challenges regarding spurious and fake pesticides and fertilizers. The farmers suffer. Somebody has to examine and answer these questions to save the farmers.
In order to tide over the problem of poor quality fertilizers and also to save on expenses, we use compost.
About 67 per cent of the local population is dependent on horticulture. The stakes are very high. It is the rozi roti of lakhs of people.
The UT Administration must wake up to the problems faced by the horticulturists. If they take the right measures, it shall improve the economy. If the challenges of the horticulture sector are resolved, it shall give immense sukoon to lakhs and lakhs of people in Kashmir.