Kashmir apple faces another setback as Iranian apple gluts markets

Iranian apple gluts Indian markets hitting Kashmir fruit trade

Shopian: Influx of Iranian apple to Indian markets has dealt a blow to Kashmir’s apple industry, which is under tremendous economic stress this year.
According to apple traders based in the Valley as well as New Delhi, rates have declined this year as large quantity of apples from Iran have reached Indian markets. They said that though there is no trade agreement between India and Iran for the fruit, but Iran is sending it through Afghanistan.
“The same apple reaches here on lower rates and not all people think about quality,” said an executive of a private fruit company.
With dip in demand, farmers are pushing the stock to cold storages in the Valley
An owner of cold storage told Kashmir Reader that around 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of apple have been stored based at Lasipora Pulwama, Aglar Shopian and parts of north Kashmir.
Bilal Ahmad Malik, a fruit grower who has stored around one thousand boxes of apple said that he is not willing to transport the fruit due to low market rates. “Though Srinagar-Jammu highway is open this time but there is little demand and lower rates for apples right now,” he said.
In November and December, the peak of season, the frequent closure of the highway, apple growers say, resulted in losses. According to him, they could not send their produce and had to store it either at their residences or sheds. But now, that can’t be done anymore as the fruit has to be stored in cold storages to avoid damages, they add.
“Given the expenses incurred in storing the fruit in cold storages, the rates should be more than Rs 1500 a box. But that is not the case,” said Abdul Hameed, a trader who has also stored thousands of apple boxes at Pulwama’s Lassipora cold storages.
Already, growers as well as apple traders sustained massive losses in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. Apart from transport, militant’s threats and attacks delayed the harvest resulting in huge economic losses.
A senior executive of a New Delhi based fruit firm Gopal Das, told Kashmir Reader that a box of apples fetch Rs 800.
“We sell grade A apple box at Rs 800 and 400 to 600 the lower grades,” he said adding that the untimely and heavy November snowfall apart from other reasons drastically affected rates.

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