Snowfall this winter caused losses worth R300 crore to fruit growers in the state, horticulture and irrigation and public health minister Vidya Stokes said here on Monday.
Vidya Stokes, who met a delegation of fruit growers, said losses in Chamba district were assessed at Rs 1 crore. She assured the farmers that the state would seek financial aid from the Centre for relief.
Stokes said the government would introduce a bill during the upcoming budget session to ensure the use of a standard carton. This, she said, would get fruit growers better remuneration for their produce and allow state-based growers to compete in the international market. "Besides, entrepreneurs will be encouraged to establish carton manufacturing units in the state," she said.
The horticulture minister said the state would take up the matter regarding the increase in import duty on apples with the Centre. "The state government is committed to the welfare of apple growers and steps will be taken to bring this crop under special category," she said.
Stokes clarified that adequate measures would be adopted to benefit farmers and fruit growers of the state through centrally-assisted Parala Subzi Mandi in Theog. "Farmers and fruit growers will be taken into confidence and consulted for giving shape to the on-going project," she said.