The National Collateral Management Services Limited (NCML) has been roped in by the government to grade apples in Kashmir. Under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) will procure apples as per the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government.
Under the scheme, apple produce will be procured and marketed by NAFED to ensure good remunerative prices for apple growers. They will directly procure the produce from the apple growers and aggregators at optimum prices at five designated collection centers (fruit and vegetable mandies) in Sopore (Baramulla), Parimpora (Srinagar), Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. As such, NCML will be helping apple growers grade the apples and get better rates in the market.
Siraj A Chaudhry, Managing Director and CEO of NCML, told a Kashmir media outlet that their certification will help apple growers in Kashmir get better rates in the market. “We will be helping the farmers get the better price, and NAFED to get quality apples. Our job is to grade the apples and certify the same,” he explained. “The produce will be then procured and sent to cold storages.”
Chaudhry said trained graders have been posted at five mandis across the valley. “With the help of the University of Kashmir, we have identified sufficient people who are trained in grading the apple,” he said. “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.” The executive stated that whenever prices at mandis will be below MSP, the government will intervene and procure the produce, thus safeguarding the farmers against losses.“Experts will decide about the category of scab-ridden apples, which form the bulk of the produce. Our graders will have a look at the specification provided by NAFED, and accordingly decide the grade.”
Besides apples, NCML plans to extend its services for the dry fruits industry as well. Observing that Kashmir is a major producer of dry fruits, Chaudhry said it is a good opportunity to approach companies who are involved in the procurement of dry fruits.