Shopian: Apple growers in south Kashmir this year are more than happy, for they have produced “high quality apple” after many years. Last year, almost 50 percent of the crop was affected by scab infection.
Experts believe that several reasons are responsible for the quality crop this year, among them dry weather in late spring, summer, and early autumn.
Fruit growers say that least of their produce, not more than 5 percent, was affected by scab infection or insect attacks this year.
The high quality crop has also resulted in good rates of apple in local as well as outside markets. Currently Kulu Delicious apple from south Kashmir is being sold at Rs 950 to 1150 at door step and local mandis and grade B 16-kilogram box is being sold at Rs 400 to 600 locally. In south Indian markets, the same box is being sold at Rs 1500 to 1700.
Basit Ahmad, a grower from Shopian, said that the quality fruit this year has brought joy to the people dependent on this sector. He said that there is good demand of the Kashmir apple, unlike last year when most of the the apple was affected by scab infection.
Experts belive that rigorous watch on fake fungicides by the law enforcing agencies was among the reasons responsible for a high quality crop.
Javid Ahmad, a horticulture expert, said that the good quality of fungicides didn’t let the scab and other infections spread. “There were several wet spells in flowering and peat nut stage of apple but it were good quality fungicides which didn’t let scab to incubate,” he said.
Also, a record quantity of apple, over two lakh metric tonnes, is being stored in cold storages based at Lasipora Pulwama, Aglar Shopian and parts of north Kashmir. The same fruit will be sent and sold next year from the month of April which maintains the demand and supply chain. Last year, less than 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of apple was stored in Kashmir.
Fruit growers demand that more intensive market and quality check of fungicides should be made in future so that Kashmiri apple can be saved from diseases.