Other States

Apple farmers of Kashmir a worried lot

The traffic ban may affect small growers in the State. File

The traffic ban may affect small growers in the State. File

Security restrictions and absence of communication links have hit Kashmir’s multi-crore apple business. The movement of fruit trucks to the Valley has reduced from 1,200 to just 120 a day.

Nazeer Ahmad, 55, an orchard owner in the apple town of Shopian, on Thursday reached Srinagar to seek help from the administration for making available trucks and giving them safe passage.

“All mandis [designated apple markets], especially in Shopian and Sopore, are shut. No buyer from outside the State has come here. This is likely to affect the pricing. We fear the ripe harvest may rot in case trucks from other States fail to arrive in the Valley,” Mr. Ahmad said.

“This year buyers from Delhi’s Azadpur mandi avoided advance contracts for the standing crop, putting the burden of ferrying the crop on the orchard owners completely.”

The apple season starts in the second week of August and peaks in September-October. The flow of trucks declines only by December 15, according to officials. Truckers from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan ferry apple outside the Valley. Kashmir produces 17.9 lakh tonnes of apple, or 75% of the total production in the country.

Kashmir’s new cold storages can accommodate only around 10% of the produce.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2022 10:55:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/apple-farmers-of-kashmir-a-worried-lot/article29225048.ece