Scheme needs efficient implantation
Procurement of apple by NAFED
The Union Cabinet’s decision that National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) would procure 12 lakh tonne apple in Jammu and Kashmir during the current 2020-21 season has been appreciated by those involved with the trade. NAFED has also been allowed to use the government guarantee of Rs 2,500 crore for this operation. The losses, if any, will be shared between the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government on a 50:50 basis. NAFED would procure the apple for the current season also i.e. 2020-21 on the same terms and condition as was done in J&K during last season 2019-20. About 12 lakh tonne apple can be procured under this scheme directly from apple growers of Jammu and Kashmir, and the payment will be made through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) into their bank account. The procurement will be undertaken by the central procuring agency NAFED through the state-designated agency Directorate of Planning and Marketing, Department of Horticulture, and Jammu and Kashmir Horticulture Processing and Marketing Corporation (JKHPMC). Under the scheme, apple will be procured by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) directly from the growers/aggregators at optimum prices at five designated collection centres (Fruit & Vegetable Mandis) in Sopore (Baramulla), Parimpora (Srinagar), Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag.
The Union Cabinet’s decision has been hailed Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha who said that the move will ensure optimum prices to the apple farmers and give necessary fillip to the economy. The apple growers of Kashmir too have hailed the move and have hoped that the Lt Administration and the concerned government agencies would take the move seriously. The growers have bitter experience of previous regimes wherein though similar type of initiatives were announced but the implementation was not upto the expected lines. Another concern of the growers is about C grade apples. Due to delay in transportation of the fruit due to varied reasons, the growers are left with bulks of C grade apple. The administration, under this scheme, need to fix a reasonable rate for these apples. The horticulture is the backbone of Kashmir economy and this backbone has been facing lots of traumas from past several years. Last year, due to early snowfall, this sector suffered huge losses. It was not just the lost of apple, that could be termed as one time loss, but a loss that would have bearing on years to come because orchardists lost their trees. Every tree lost is a loss for several years as the orhardists have to plant new trees which would bear fruit after several years. These are the issues that the administration should take into consideration while formulating any policy regarding the horticulture. Secondly, all the schemes, including this one, are good but what remains to be seen is the implementation. The success of this scheme too would be assessed the way the concerned authorities implent it and reach out to the probable beneficiaries.