Himachal Pradesh Congress President Kuldeep Singh Rathore demanded that the government save the state’s apple growers from “open loot by the Adani Group”.
Rathore claimed that the Adani Agri Fresh company had reduced the procurement rate of apples by ₹16, thus negatively impacting the ₹5,000-crore apple market of the state.
He also alleged that the present BJP dispensation has withdrawn all subsidy benefits from the farmers. Rathore said the new farm laws enacted by the Centre were to benefit their capitalist friends.
The Adani Group has announced prices for procuring apple for its CA stores. Compared to last year, the prices announced for premium apple are around 20 per cent less this time – the opening price for the premium apple last year was Rs 88 per kg. This time, it is Rs 72. The apple growers are not happy and some are even threatening to boycott the corporate giant.
“Covid-19 and unseasonal rain and snow in May have caused immense losses to small farmers. And now, the prices of the fruits have also nosedived. Congress will not remain a mute spectator to this loot of farmers,” said Rathore, adding that the party will launch a stir.
Rathore further alleged that the government was hand-in-glove with apple traders and commission agents. He said apple prices were deliberately brought down so that corporate companies can accumulate profits. “Corporate companies of Ambani and Adani are getting full protection from the government in the loot of farmers,” he alleged.
Manjeet Shilu, plant head of the Adani CA store at Bithal, said the prices offered by the corporate were good, especially considering the fact that growers do not have to pay for packing and grading. “We have a pool of around 17,000 growers who give us apple.
We hold discussions with them before fixing the prices to get a sense of what they are expecting,” said Shilu. “And since we have announced the prices, we have not received even a single call from farmers to complain about the rates. Only those growers are complaining who never give apple to Adani stores,” he said.