The state government will not compel apple growers of the state to use universal carton for packaging of apples, horticulture minister Vidya Stokes said here on Tuesday.
She said growers could arrange carton for apple packaging from Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing, Processing Cooperation Limited and Himachal Pradesh State Co-operative Marketing and Consumers Federation Limited and other private agencies.
As good crop of apple is projected this year, the department will provide carton of best quality at reasonable prices on its sale centres, Stokes added.
In the previous government, department had decided to purchase 40,000 universal cartons, out of which 12,000-15,000 had been sold out.
JC Sharma, managing director, HPMC, said universal carton had a packaging capacity of 20 kg.
“Usually, growers are paid on the basis of boxes. On paper, weight would be 20 kg, but in reality it exceeded 30 kg often. Somewhere, growers are at loss,” he added.
However, after discussion between department and growers, the department has decided not to make use of universal carton mandatory, he added.
Sanjeev Chauhan, a progressive grower of Kotkhai, said universal carton was standard and this system was followed worldwide except India.
“Universal carton system is of international standards. All apple growing country use universal carton for packaging, as only 20 kg of apple can be packed in it. It also reduces the damage due to overweight,” he said.
“If we are talking about competing with the international market, then we have to adopt this system,” he added.
In the present system, apple is packed in a normal carton. Grower gets the price per box, but trader sells the produce on weight bases.
Vinod Chauhan, president, of the Haryana Cooperative Society, of Kotgarh, said, “We are lacking in production, as it is assumed on the basis of packed boxes and one box is assumed to be of 20 kg. But, in reality, the production of state is much higher than assumed because every box of apple would exceed the mark of 20 kg.”
“Even, this system is causing harm of revenue to the state. If universal carton system would be applied, then revenue would be increased and could be used to improve infrastructure,” he added.