Peoples’ Conference (PC) President Sajad Gani Lone Tuesday expressed profound concern regarding the recent relaxation of customs duty on apple imports into India.
Lone said that this decision will have a devastating impact on apple growers, particularly in the Kashmir Valley, who have been grappling with challenges for the past three decades.
“The relaxation of customs duty on Apples is going to hit the apple growers badly. The horticulturists in the valley have been struggling for the last three decades. Allowing free entry for into the Indian market will be catastrophic for apple growers in Kashmir and also in the rest of the country,” he said in a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
He further said that the gravity of the situation becomes apparent when one considers that the Indian market, already devoid of subsidies or assistance for its local growers, is now opening its doors to customs duty-free imports from a nation that provides substantial subsidies to its own apple industry.
“Hope the government knows that the American apple growers are provided huge subsidies by the government. One estimate puts it at more than 25%. The apple growers, in India, have never seen any direct efforts of assistance or subsidies from the government. So the government allows custom duty free imports from a country which provides subsidies into a market which has no subsidies or assistance for its local growers”, he added.
PC President fervently hoped that the government revaluates this decision and reinstates customs duties. “Hope the decision is changed and custom duties are levied again,” he concluded