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Apple and vegetable growers seek loan waiver

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Shimla: The Fruit, Vegetable, and Flower Growers Association demanded the Union government waive off all farm loans, which would be a major relief for 4.50 lakh Kissan Credit Card (KCC) holders in Himachal Pradesh as their crops have been damaged in the heavy rainfall.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, the state convener of FV&FGA, Harish Chauhan, said that due to inhospitable weather and extremely heavy rainfall, their crops have been severely damaged.

He said that growers likely expect only a 20 to 25 percent yield this year, which is likely to plunge them into a debt trap due to crop failure.

All fruit, vegetables, and flowers Growers are victims of excessive rain, cloud bursts, and the washing away of crops in the field or orchard. They have suffered a lot of damage to crops, uprooting of fruit-laden trees, and cloudburst and flash flood flooding.

The prolonged wet weather also damaged the apple crop, and vegetables and orchards are infested by rot and early leaf fall disease.

The failure of the crop left most growers having to bear expensive labour, pesticides, fertilisers, and transportation costs and therefore couldn’t recoup the annual installment of KCC limit and interest.

There are around 4.50 lakh KCC holders in the state, and they have borrowed around five to six lakh.

All the farmers are facing huge financial losses, and many have been rendered homeless due to the washing down of houses in the state.

He said that the government should waive off all crop and land-based loans in the wake of a natural disaster.

Due to the failure of crops, it is becoming difficult to fulfil their day-to-day needs, like shopping and paying children’s fees.

He said that in such a situation, now all the banks are pressuring them for the recovery of KCC debt in the month of September.

He said that a waiver would save the apple and off-season vegetable economies if the Union government announced this important decision.

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