Vidya Stokes, Irrigation and Public Health and Horticulture Minister said that State Government had been contemplating to bring out amendments in the ‘Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2005’ and ‘Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (General) Amendment Rules, 2006’ clearly specifying the weight and counts of apples for different packs and the weight of the apple inclusive of packaging should not be more than 22.5 kg for bigger packs and 11 kg for smaller packs irrespective of type of packaging to be used by the growers. This will bring about standardization in the apple marketing trade and prevent the fruit growers from exploitation by the middlemen. She called upon the fruit growers to adhere to the specified norms so that better returns are realized by them for their produce.
She said that the Horticulture department would propagate this policy of the Government among the farmers by holding special camps in the fruit grower areas. She called upon the fruit wholesale traders to support this cause for bringing about uniformity in the trade. Horticulture Minister said that Government had also decided that the processing grade fruit being procured under Market Intervention Scheme in 60 kg. would be procured in 18 kg. bags. The procuring agencies HPMC and Himfed would make timely arrangements for procuring the bags and ensure its availability at their centres well before the onset of the apple season so that there was no shortage of bags to bring about the change. Smt. Stokes said that ethral spray would be completely banned in a phased manner. She further said that directions had been given to the Dr. Y.S. Parmar University for Horticulture and Forestry to find out other alternate in this regard.