SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government is proposing to increase the price of apples under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for apple growers in Kashmir.
NAFED, which is the nodal agency for procuring apples, has fixed Rs 54, Rs 38 and Rs 15.75 for A, B and C grade apples, respectively.
NAFED is assisted by J&K Department of Horticulture Marketing and Planning (J&KDHMP) in registering and grading of apples at four procurement centres in Kashmir.
The scheme was announced by the J&K government on August 12 in view of the lockdown and communication blockade in Kashmir. To date, over 3,000 farmers have registered themselves with NAFED and J&KDHMP.
To encourage more farmers to join the scheme the government in now proposing to increase the prices for apples, official sources said.
"We are proposing a hike in the prices of apples that we hope will encourage more farmers to come forward," a senior government officer said. He said he was confident that C grade apples would also fetch close to Rs 20 after rates are revised.
"That should lure more farmers to come forward with their produce," the official said.
Apples are cultivated on 3.87 lakh hectares in Kashmir. It fetches Rs 8,000 crore annually and supports seven lakh families.
Kashmir contributes 75 per cent of the apples produced in India. Experts believe that the turnover could be much higher if processing plants and cold storages are set up in Kashmir.
Over the years, rice farmers in Kashmir have also shifted to apple farming as the fruit generates better returns and is less labour intensive.