SRINAGAR — In order to protect the interests of the country’s apple producers, the Central government has amended its import policy for apples by introducing Minimum Important Price (MIP) and banning the import of apples costing below Rs 50 per kg.
According to an official notification issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as per the news agency KNO, the import of apples is now prohibited and import is free only if CIF value is above Rs 50 per kg.
“In exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 read with Section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, read with paragraph 1.02 and 2.01 of the Foreign Trade Policy 2023, as amended from time to time, the Central government hereby amends the import policy condition under ITC (HS) 08081000 of Chapter-08 of ITC (HS), 2022, Schedule-I (Import Policy),” reads the notification.
Import of apples under ITC (HS) 08081000 is now ‘Prohibited’ wherever the CIF Import Price is less than equal to Rs. 50/- per kilogram. However, these Minimum Import Price (MIP) conditions shall not be applicable to imports from Bhutan.
Notably, the apple growers of J&K and other parts of the country have been raising the issue of free import of apples from different countries as it was decreasing the rate of apples being produced here.
Several fruit growers’ associations have been advocating and writing to higher-ups for an import cap to protect the country’s apple farmers.
Ghulam Hassan Nengroo, President Dachnipora Fruit Growers Association said that the horticulture industry is in a critical stage in Kashmir as it has faced many challenges in the last few years. “The major challenge to this industry was importing apples from Iran and other countries without any tax and if the government did not intervene, this industry would collapse.”
He said that the government has intervened at the right time and they are hopeful the order will be implemented on the ground to implement growers.
Chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union Srinagar, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said that if Iranian apples are still imported, there should be a 100% import duty on them so that they do not affect markets here.
Pertinently, Kashmir on average produces over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple every year, a figure that in some years touches 25 lakh metric tonnes.
The 2017 economic survey in J&K said that half of Kashmir’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on the apple industry and over 3.5 lakh hectares are under apple cultivation.