SRINAGAR — After facing losses due to the halting of trucks on NH44, apple growers in Kashmir are now suffering due to freight rise, transport shortage and low demand for the fruit.
Growers from several areas told the news agency KNO that the demand for the fruit has remained low this year so far but freight has doubled and there is a shortage of trucks to carry apples outside Kashmir.
Shabir Ahmad, a grower from Shopian, said that they spend their savings on orchards but the returns are not satisfactory this year. He cites the increasing cost of labour, fertilizer and pesticide.
He said that growers are not able to get the amount they spend on orchards, incurring losses. “Freight rates have doubled in the last few days and even growers who are ready to pay the amount are unable to get trucks,” he added.
President Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU), Bashir Ahmad, admitted that freight charges have doubled in the last few days.
Due to the glut of fruit in markets outside after trucks were allowed smooth passage, he said, the demand for the fruit has decreased. Also, the transport shortage is because trucks are outside Kashmir with apples. He added that an actual assessment of the losses is being done.