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Fruit growers demand 100% duty on apple imports under SAFTA pact

·1-min read

Srinagar, Mar 6 (PTI) An organization of fruit and vegetable growers from hilly states and union territories on Saturday demanded imposition of 100 per cent duty on apples imported from Iran and other countries via Afghanistan under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).

'To safeguard the interests of the domestic growers and associates, the import duty on apple should be levied 100% on realistic basis and import should be fixed. Otherwise, this undervaluation of duty will result in losses of revenue to the respective government,' Hill States Horticulture Forum (HSHF) said in a statement.

The forum said a meeting was held at Lassipora industrial estate on Thursday to discuss the issues faced by the stakeholders and main challenges for fruit growers and other stakeholders in horticulture sector in the hilly states.

The forum said it has also decided to first approach the respective governments for redressal of the vital issues which include 'illegal and unlawful import of apples from Iran and other neighbouring countries through Afghanistan under SAFTA at Zero per cent import duty.' The forum said this is not only harmful but will prove fatal for small and marginal fruit growers.

'The sale of these apples in Mandis ... has resulted in 30%-40% decrease in prices for domestic farmers this year and there is an anticipation that if this continues farmers in these apple growing states will have no market left and will have no means of sustenance,' it added. PTI MIJ MR