Hundreds of farmers of Himachal Pradesh staged protests on several locations on Monday, September 13, against the state government's failure to prevent the massive fall in apple prices.
They have demanded fair prices for the fruit in the wholesale market, Hindustan Times reported.
The protest was called by the Samyukt Kisan Manch, the umbrella body of farmer unions. The people continued the demonstrations amid the extreme weather conditions.
Reportedly, the prices have crashed by 50-70 per cent, and is considered the worst crisis in the last ten years.
This is a massive setback for the growers and the state, considering apple is the most important fruit crop. It constitutes 49 per cent of the total area under fruit crops and about 85 per cent of the total fruit production.
It accounts for 90 per cent of the state's horticultural production and is a significant source of livelihood for the majority of the state's population.
Growers say the commission agents and the cold-store corporate owners have exploited them by keeping low prices for the premium qualities.
Protestors in Shimla demonstrated outside the Deputy Commissioner'sCommissioner's office, voicing their concerns and accusing the government of not taking any necessary measures to address the dire situation. People also called out Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur.
Kisan Manch convener Harish Chauhan said the ₹6,000-crore economy was in crisis and sought the government's initiation to raise the minimum support price (MSP).
In the charter of demands, the protestors have demanded the Market Intervention Scheme's implementation and the APMC Act. They also sought the abolition of several charges that are deducted from payments by the commission agents.
According to the media report, people have also urged the government to compensate for the loss caused due to natural calamities, make payments as per the weight of produce, and restoration of subsidies on fertilisers, seeds, insecticides, fungicides, etc.