The state government has urged the Centre to evolve a comprehensive policy to protect the interests of horticulturists facing tough competition from imported fruits and vegetables.
The state government has conveyed its concerns to the Niti Aayog and agriculture ministry. While appealing to the Centre to evolve policies to enable domestic farmers face the competition, the state government believes along with fruits, saplings and seeds should also be imported, which can be cultivated in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Agriculture Price Commission chairman Pasha Patel said, “We have urged the agriculture ministry and NITI Aayog to address the problems arising out of the tough competition faced by domestic farmers growing fruits and vegetables. We are not against banning imports. But can’t we also import seeds and saplings which could help our farmers.”
In the last one year, horticulturists across Maharashtra have raised concerns over “foreign fruits” inundating the domestic market. They have indicated that locally grown fruits and vegetables lag behind when it comes to quality and storage.
Patel said, “Nashik grapes are famous all over India. On an average, Nashik grapes fetch Rs 80-100 a kg. Whereas, new varieties of imported grapes fetch Rs 300-350 per kg.” Whether it is apples, oranges or kiwi, a variety of fruits, which have flooded the domestic markets in Maharashtra, are giving farmers tough competition, he added.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has assured that the government will look into the problems faced by the horticulture sector.