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Monday, February 6, 2023

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Peeling at the Red-hot Apple Farmers’ Issue that holds sway over many voters in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh is known for its apple orchards. The fruit crop is very important to the economy of the state and has definitely become a major polling theme, with the opposition party congress trying to exploit the problems and problems of apple growers.

What Are Apple Farmers’ Problems?

According to horticulturists, apple farming has become a loss-making business due to rising production costs due to higher prices for fertilizers, pesticides and reduced government support.

The Kullu region, whose economy depends on tourism and horticulture, has four meeting places from Manali, Kullu Sadar, Banjar and Anni.

“Apple growers are not happy here as prices have fallen to 2012 and 2013 levels. This issue will affect the elections in all four seats in this apple belt,” Naresh Chaudhary, an apple grower in Manali, told PTI .

Apple growers here are also not happy with the BJP’s ruling on raising the GST on packaging and other input materials.

“Carton rates were increased just before the apple marketing season, which hit our income,” Chaudhary said.

Another apple grower, Durga Singh from Kullu, said the ruling government had promised to open cold stores in the region, but has failed to deliver. “I think issues about apple rates and falling revenues and VAT on packaging materials will affect the prospects of the BJP in the four seats here,” Singh said.

What Congress Promised

To appease the state’s protesting apple farmers who have raised their voices on various issues, an addition to the manifesto is the promise of a committee to consult apple farmers and set an MSP purchase price.

And BJP not far behind

In a letter to apple growers, the BJP said it would impose a ceiling of 12% GST on materials used in apple packaging, with the state government paying any additional GST.

Why it’s so important

The ruling BJP believes it has done everything possible to help apple growers. “We’ve helped Apple orchards in every way we can.” “Our opponents are behind the agitation,” said Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.

In any case, Aapple growers control 20 of Himachal Pradesh’s 68 constituencies. The community is one of the state’s main voting banks, so every party wants to impress them.

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