Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta on Wednesday said FDI in multi-brand retail will wipe out Indian fruit industry and besides,Himachal Pradesh,Uttrakhand and Jammu & Kashmir will also suffer losses. This comes at a time when the state is already facing competition from apples in China,US and Europe flooding the domestic market in the state.
It was during NDA regime of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that at the intervention of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal,the custom duty on apples was raised up to 50 per cent. Despite requests,both in writing and through a resolution passed by the state Assembly,the Centre did not raise the custom duty from 50 to 80 per cent. As a result,foreign apples has caused a big dent in the domestic market, Bragta told mediapersons here.
He added: By allowing FDI in multi-brand retail,apple growers will be finished. Even this season,growers in Himachal have lost Rs 600 crore due to the arrival of varieties of foreign apples. The FDI will open floodgates for imported apples. Since the cost of production in US and China is very low as compared to Himachal,we will not survive anywhere.
Himachals apple industry alone generates an annual income of Rs 2,200 crore. While the state produces five to 11 MT of apples in one hectare area,the figure is 60 to 65 MT in the US,Europe and China. Growers in Himachal will reportedly suffer losses as foreign apples will be sold at much lower rates. While there is an annual demand of 35 lakh MT of apples in the country,only 21 lakh MT is available. Foreign apple producers are trying to encash on this 14-lakh MT.