Srinagar, Oct 4: The fruit growers in Kashmir have urged the government to restart the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), saying that a significant proportion of this year’s produce was categorised as inferior (C-grade).
According to the growers, the crop has been affected by incessant rains during the flowering stage and prolonged dry spells during the summer and autumn. These conditions have led to scab disease and affected the size and colour of the apples.
Farooq Ahmad, an expert in this field, told KNO that this year’s C-grade apples are a cause for concern. He said the MIS scheme, which has previously played a vital role in procuring inferior-quality apples in the valley, has been discontinued for the current marketing season.
“The Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) by the Union government played an important role in procuring inferior quality C-grade apples in the valley since 2017 when the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) first launched the scheme,” he said.
Unless the scheme is restarted, the growers will struggle to find a market for their produce, particularly given the large amount of C-grade apples this year, Farooq said.
The growers have urged the J&K administration to emulate the approach of Himachal Pradesh and involve them in value-addition activities, such as processing culled fruit into apple juice, jams, pickles, and bread.
According to Basheer Ahmad, President of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU), roughly 30-40% of this year’s apples are C-grade. We have sent several letters to the LG administration urging it to restart the MIS scheme, but no action was taken on the ground, he said.
On behalf of the fruit growers associations, I urge the LG administration to restart the scheme as soon as possible to provide the necessary support to the growers during this challenging period.