Apple Packing
File Pic | Courtesy: Kashmir Observer

SRINAGAR — The continuous import of huge quantities of Iranian apples has left a devastating effect on the Kashmir apple industry as the rates have declined by around 50 percent.

Growers from different areas of Kashmir told news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that usually the rates of apples used to increase after ending November but this time that didn’t happen as import of Iranian apples, which are sold at cheaper prices after being dumped in India, undercut the Kashmiri apple trade.

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They said that rates started declining since ending November last year and now there is no demand for Kashmiri apples and growers are not even fetching 50 percent of what they were getting in October-November last year.

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Mohammad Ayoub, a grower from Shopian, said that he is yet to send his 400 apple boxes as he was waiting for rates to increase more but instead rates are decreasing with each passing day.

“The rates have decreased by half which were in October-November and the farmers whose most of the produce is in Kashmir or have kept in cold storage units are very worried,” he said.

Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union while talking with KNO said that around 3 crore apple boxes are lying in Kashmir and if government won’t interfere, the industry would be badly hit.

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He said that the rates of Kashmiri apples have declined by 50 percent and there is no demand for Kashmiri apples now as apples from Iran are reaching India at cheaper rates.

He said that despite writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Agriculture Minister, LG Manoj Sinha and concerned officials, nothing has been done on the ground.

He requested them to interfere and save the horticulture industry of Kashmir, which is the backbone of the economy.

“On one hand, the government is claiming that they are developing the horticulture sector but on the other hand, they aren’t interfering to stop apple import from Iran, how will it work?” he asked.

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