Kashmiri apples

PULWAMA — The fruit growers and traders in Kashmir who had kept their produce in cold storage units said they are facing huge losses as rates have plummeted to an all-time low.

Speaking to the news agency KNO, the growers and traders said they have been facing huge losses as rates have been going down with each passing day. They said currently apple boxes are being sold at Rs 300-400 per box while the rates of C-grade apples in the main season were more than that.

Mudasir Ahmad, a fruit trader, said that he had purchased around 10 thousand apple crates at around Rs 1000-1500 per crate and kept them in cold storage units in Lassipora Pulwama. He said currently his apple crates are fetching just around Rs 300-400 only due to which he faces a loss of Rs 1000-1200 per crate which is around one crore rupees of loss.

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“I have been doing fruit business for the last 10 years but have earned just a few lakhs in the last 10 years as I have been facing a loss in crores which has left me and my family in depression,” Mudasir said, adding that same is the case of other fruit traders who have purchased and kept their produce in CA stores.

Traders said they stopped packing their produce for some time but are aware that they can’t keep it there for a long time. “Six to seven months have already passed since we kept it there,” they said.

“Even the C-grade apples fetched more returns in the main season and this is an all-time low rate of produce kept in cold storage units,” they said. “This is because apples in bulk quantity have been reaching Indian markets from different countries, thereby denting local apples.”

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Meanwhile, cold unit holders sought the government’s intervention under these conditions. “Otherwise, this may have a negative impact on cold storage units,” they said.

Anjum Abrar, a manager of one such unit, said there is a positive impact of cold storage units that they maintain the supply and demand chain, which benefits growers by ensuring favourable returns. “If the produce kept in cold storage units won’t fetch good returns, then how will people prefer to keep their produce in CA stores?” he asked.

“The government must intervene in stopping the import of apples so that Kashmiri growers and traders fetch good returns,” Abrar said.

He said that the cold storage units have been employing thousands of people. “Neglecting this sector would impact the livelihoods of thousands of workers,” he said.

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