Kashmir- Agent’s apple growers don’t get fruit of labour

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Human Rights
Tags: , , , , , , ,

DNA Special: Agent’s apple growers don’t get fruit of labour

Published: Sunday, Mar 31, 2013,
By Sandeep Pai | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

You may be cursing when you pay a high price for Kashmiri apples, wondering what share of the moneyorchard owners would receive. But in reality, the apple growers wouldn’t be even knowing the price at which the fruit is sold in the mainland, leave alone reaping profits.

Then, where does the money go? Into the pockets of commission agents, who, sitting in Delhi or any of the major cities, exploit and cheat the apple growers in Kashmir of crores of rupees every year. The apple growers live only in debt and distress, thanks to these agents.

The draft report of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on production and marketing of apple in Kashmir — a copy of it is exclusively available with DNA — blows the lid off this scam which is affecting the Rs 4,000 crore apple industry that kept the Valley alive even during the peak of militancy. The report will be submitted to the J&K government soon.

Exposing the role of commercial banks (mainly J&K Bank) in the scam, the report says they give advance to commission agents (CAs) instead of farmers. The CAs then lend the same money to apple growers at usurious rates. “In this way banks are (indirectly) contributing to survival of the old practice of ruthless, continued over-dependence of small growers of informal funding by agents,” says the report.

During 2011-12, apple growers in J&K got an advance of Rs1,200 crore (This excludes loans availed of under the ‘Apple Project’ of the J&K Bank) of which only Rs 200 crore was from banks. The amount funded by agents to the apple growers that year was Rs 1,024 crore, of which Rs 645 crore (63%) came from Delhi-based agents and Rs 207 crore (20%) from Kashmir-based CAs.

READ MORE HERE-http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dna-special-agent-s-apple-growers-don-t-get-fruit-of-labour_1817367


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