Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], November 30 (ANI): Apple growers in Shimla have said that private apple procurement centres in the district are helping them earn more, as they do not have to deal with middlemen anymore.
A farmer Layak Ram said, "Earlier we had to go to Delhi. Now we sell apples directly to the centre here.""I gave them 12,000 crates of apples last year and around 10,000 crates this year. Payment is made directly into our bank account. Earlier, we used to spend a lot on paying grading officials, labourers, on commission etc. Now we save a lot and earn good money," he added.
"We take care of the quality of our produce. Earlier there was a lot of exploitation because of monopoly. Our labour costs are saved as we have contracted out our lands. We are very happy because we earn more now. The Adani group has helped us," he further said.
Manjeet Singh Dhillon, an orchard manager, said, "Adani group is procuring apples from growers from the year 2006. Earlier, our production capacity was 18,000 metric tonne. Now we have made it to 22,000 metric tonnes. Our main focus is that how to increase the income of growers.""This year we bought 50 per cent more apples than last year. The rates were higher so the growers got more money. Around 17,000 farmers are connected with us today. They are earning more these days and taking care of the education of their children," he added.
Dhillon further said, "There are three collection centres in Himachal Pradesh. The growers get their earnings faster now. We also availed the services of scientists to help growers and provided all facilities to growers. Our added focus is that we have to compete in the international market.""The end-user is the consumer who is concerned about quality. We have a rejection label of 12 per cent which is known to the growers. The growers get their earnings based on the colour, size and weight of the apples. We are bringing in new technologies to help the growers meet the quality standards.," he added.
He further said that more than 90 per cent of the workforce employed in the orchards is local.
"From 2006 onwards when we started investing in the orchards, more than 90 per cent of the local people have got employment in the orchards," he said.
"The main advantage to the growers is that they are getting payments automatically into their accounts after selling their produce," he added. (ANI)