Special Market intervention Price Scheme for procurement of Apple in J&K, 12 Lakh MTs of Apple to be procured

Straightline News Network

SRINAGAR, Sep 9: Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam on Monday chaired a video conference with Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of Kashmir Division to discuss the roll out of the Special Market Intervention Price Scheme (MISP) of Government of India (GoI), being introduced to procure nearly 12 Lakh MTs of Apple produce this season from the Apple growers of Kashmir Division on remunerative prices. Secretary, Horticulture was also present in the meeting.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Director Horticulture, Kashmir, Director, Agriculture, Kashmir, Director, Jammu and Kashmir Horticulture Process and Marketing Corporation (JKHPMC), representatives of NAFED and other senior officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.

It would be in the history of J&K that such a special scheme is being introduced wherein nearly 60% of the estimated annual Apple production, which last year stood at 20 Lakh MTs will be procured from the Apple growers nearer their door steps. The scheme is expected to enhance the income of the growers in Kashmir Valley by about Rs 2000 crore.

The period of procurement would be from 01.09.2019 to 01.03.2020 i.e. six months. The fund requirement for the scheme has been estimated as Rs 8000 Crore. Under the scheme, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, GoI and the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) will procure Apple in J&K from the growers/aggregators so as to ensure remunerative prices for the Apple crop.

While the nodal procurement agency from Government of India will be NAFED, the Nodal procurement agency from Government of Jammu and Kashmir will be the Directorate of Horticulture, Planning and Marketing, supported by the Directorate of Horticulture and the JKHPMC.

Apple will be procured from the growers/aggregators at Fruit Mandis situated in Sopore (Baramulla), Parimpora (Srinagar), Shopian and Batengo (Anantnag). Necessary facilities and infrastructure is being created at these Mandis for smooth operationalization of the scheme. Senior level functionaries from Horticulture Department will be monitoring and   supervising the entire procurement operation at the Mandis. Representatives from NAFED and National Horticulture Board will be associated with the procurement and other processes at the Mandis along with the necessary staff to be drawn from Horticulture and Agriculture Department.

For fixing the price of the Apple based on its variety and grade, Government will constitute a State Level Price Fixation Committee for fixing the procurement price for A, B and C grade apple and other incidental charges like packaging, transportation, storage and related expenditure.

Quality Control cum Grading Committees will be constituted for each Mandi for validation cum certification of the Apple to be procured at the Mandis. The Committee will   assess the quality of the Apple based on ocular, scientific and/or any other available means.

Apple produce after validation cum certification by the designated Committees will be procured by NAFED from Apple growers through Directorate of Horticulture, Planning and Marketing. Payments will be made through DBT mode directly into the Bank Accounts of the Apple growers as admissible within 48 hrs of procurement by the Directorate of Horticulture, Planning and Marketing.

Chief Secretary asked the DCs to gear up their administrative machinery to ensure that Apple growers reap the benefits of the special market intervention scheme. He directed DCs to launch a sustained campaign to generate awareness among the fruit growers about the scheme and also start the process of their registration, collecting their Aadhaar and Bank Account details so that after procurement of the Apple, payment can be made directly into their Bank Accounts within a period of 48 hrs. An appropriate proforma will be devised for facility of collecting information from the growers so as to facilitate speedy payments.

DCs were directed to make assessment of the requirement of actual number of trucks for transportation of the Apple crop and formulate a movement plan for the trucks carrying the fruit to and from the Mandis to outside J&K. He also stressed on advising the Apple growers to pack Grade-C Apple in loose gunny bags of the specification as prescribed by NAFED.

Chief Secretary directed Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to review the arrangements being put in place at the four Mandis with the respective DCs to ensure that the scheme is rolled out smoothly without encumbrances. The meeting also discussed other aspects related to the scheme.