Srinagar: National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) has hired a Gurgaon-based company to grade apples in order to help farmers to fetch better rates in the market.
Last month, the government extended Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) to Kashmir. Under this scheme, the apple produce will be procured by the NAFED as per the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the government.
The government has involved National Collateral Management Services Limited to grade apples. Under the proposal, trained graders of the company will be posted at procurement centers to help farmers in grading the apple.
Siraj A Chaudhry, Managing Director & CEO of the National Collateral Management Services Limited, said their certification to the procured apple will help the farmers get better rates in the market.
“We will be actually helping the farmers to get the better price and NAFED to get the quality apples. Our job is to grade the apples and certify the same. The produce will be then procured and sent to cold storages,” he said.
Chaudhry said trained graders have already been posted at five mandis across Kashmir. “With the help of the University of Kashmir, we have identified sufficient people who are trained in grading the apple. Majority of these qualified persons belong to the apple farming community. We have sufficient manpower to cater the demand during the peak season and the persons will be deployed at each mandi as per the requirement of the NAFED” he said.
Chaudhry said the government will procure the apple whenever the rates drop below Minimum Support Price (MSP) in order to cushion the farmers.
“Whenever prices at mandis will be below MSP, the government will intervene and procure the produce. It will give farmers protection against losses,” he said.
Earlier the National Collateral Management Services Limited has graded apples in Himachal Pradesh.
Chaudhry said they are planning to extend their services for the dry fruits industry as well.
“Kashmir is a major producer of dry fruits. It is a good opportunity to approach companies who involved in procurement of dry fruits,” he said.
Chaudhry said experts will decide about the category of scab-ridden apples, which form the bulk of the produce. “Our graders will have look at the specification provided by NAFED and accordingly decide the grade,” he said.
Last week, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the main objective of the Market Intervention Scheme is to facilitate the stakeholders by providing the optimum prices to the growers given the peculiar situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.