Shimla, Sep 13 : Apple Farmers Federation of India on Wednesday expressed displeasure with the Narendra Modi government for easing import duty on the US Apple during the current season in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
A joint statement issued by the conveners and convenor of IAAFI Dogan Thakur and Zahoor Ahmed said prospects for a happy harvest in 2023 are dim, owing to a mix governmental policies and ecological conditions
They said that Union government has withdrawn 20 percent additional import duty on apple (as well as on walnuts and almonds) from the US on September 5.
These additional duties imposed by India on US-origin products have been withdrawn as the US agreed to provide market access to Steel and Aluminium products.
IAAFI said the apparent bargain would grievously hurt apple growers of HP and J&K.
The slashing of import duty will lead to more premium Washington apples entering the Indian market.
Washington apple is heavily subsidised with almost one-third of their production costs being borne by the US government.
In India, the government bears a very small percentage of production costs and that too through indirect subsidies.
Further, the average US apple farmer controls hundreds of acres of orchards with state-of-the-art machinery and enjoys
economies of scale, due to which they gain a profit margin even selling at a relatively cheaper rate, they said.
IAAI demanded that not only the current move should be withdrawn, a 100% additional duty on apples imported from the US should be imposed.