Shopian: Fed up, like most apple growers in Kashmir, with the dues charged by officials and the commissions charged by traders at different mandis, 55-year-old Abdul Hameed Wani started his own mandi at his native village of Reban in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Wani’s mandi is the first of its kind in Kashmir where people bring their fruit and sell it at satisfactory rates without paying any commission or other charges.
Wani told Kashmir Reader that he started his “mini-mandi” this year and has since received and sold over two lakh apple boxes.
“Almost all the people in my area brought their apple here and got it sold on genuine rates. And we don’t charge them anything at all,” he said.
He said that he got this idea after he listened to the problems of people who were cheated by people either in mandis or after selling the apple boxes from their orchards.
“Farmers are simple people. They don’t know the unfair tricks which are adopted by people. Some of them were cheated either of the payment for their fruit or the rates given were not fair,” he said.
Wani said that his family has the trust of local people as for decades they have been in the apple business, besides having more than 60 kanals of orchard land which fetches them eight-thousand apple boxes every year.
“We never delayed payment even after sustaining losses. I know what problems a farmer faces to grow a box of apple. We believe in honesty rather than in gains,” he said.
“After the sale of their produce, we give them (growers) bank cheques on the spot so that they don’t face problems,” he said.
Wani has utilised about eight kanals of land to start his mini-mandi. “I have buyers from different states of India. All the traders see and check the fruit by themselves and this way they also get satisfied about the fruit of their choice,” he said, adding that a box of top-quality apple was sold at Rs 1100 at his mandi, higher than the rates at any market in India.