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Local government imposes Rs 50 per kg ‘export tax’ on apples

- LP Devkota, JUMLA
The Apple Market Management Sub-Committee, under the Apple Super Zone, has also drawn the attention of the local government to immediately withdraw its decision

Aug 20, 2018-While the federal government has been providing subsidies for apple growers to boost production, the local government has decided to impose tax on them, drawing furious reaction from farmers.

As the apple harvest season nears, the local government has decided to impose a tax of Rs50 on a kg of apples in the name of “export tax”. The tax is equal to the farm gate price of apple of Rs50 per kg.

It’s a policy contrast.

Under the 10-year Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project, launched in 2016-17, the

federal government has been providing subsidies for apple growers to increase the production of apples by declaring Jumla as a super zone for apples.

The eight local units of the district decided to levy export tax to increase revenue. The decision was taken after the District Coordination Committee invited representatives of all local units at the district headquarters and announced the new tax regime. Farmers have demanded to roll back the decision.

The Apple Market Management Sub-Committee, under the Apple Super Zone, has also drawn the attention of the local government to immediately withdraw its decision to impose tax on apples. The sub-committee has submitted separate memorandums to the District Coordination Committee and District Administration Office to withdraw the tax. “This decision will hit farmers hard,” said Prem Bahadur Basnet, vice president of the Apple Market Management Sub-Committee. “The tax is not reasonable and has been levied unilaterally,” he said. He said that the sub-committee would be forced to launch strikes if the local government did not review the tax rates.

However, Karma Buda, deputy chief of the District Coordination Committee, said that the export tax has been imposed on traders but not on farmers. Jumla has the potential to turn 10,000 hectares of arable land into apple orchards; however, only 3,000 hectares has been utilised so far, said district agriculture officer Balak Ram Devkota.

According to him, 6,000 tonnes of apples has been expected to be produced in Jumla this year. Campaigns like One-home, an apple orchard campaign launched by the Nepali government, has increased the production of apples in the country.

Published: 20-08-2018 08:56

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