Srinagar, Nov 14: The Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union has appealed and written a letter to Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar; Lt Governor J&K, Manoj Sinha, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi and Principal Secretary to Government Director Horticulture P&M
Agriculture production Department Srinagar to use their good offices to initiate ban on import of Iranian apples into India.
The union said that the heavy influx of Iranian apples is threatening the Kashmiri apple industry, which is the lifeline of the Jammu and Kashmir economy.
The union said that the Kashmiri apple crop has been severely damaged by drought, hailstorms, and strong winds this year. As a result, only about 40% of the crop is of Grade A quality. The heavy influx of Iranian apples at this time has further depressed the prices of Kashmiri apples, causing heavy losses to fruit growers.
The union pointed out that India is one of the world’s largest producers of apples, and about 80% of the rural population of Jammu and Kashmir is directly or indirectly dependent on the horticulture sector. The union said that the arrival of Iranian apples in the name of Afghanistan via the Wagah border is putting the fruit industry of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, and Uttarakhand in a precarious situation.
The union said that the Delhi government is the largest buyer of Kashmiri apples in India. The union appealed to Arvind Kejriwal to use his influence to pressure the central government to ban Iranian apple imports. The union also appealed to Kejriwal to promote the sale of Kashmiri apples in Delhi markets.
“We urge Arvind Kejriwal to ban the import of Iranian apples into India and to promote the sale of Kashmiri apples in Delhi markets,” said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, President of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union. “The Kashmiri apple industry is on the verge of collapse and we need the support of the Delhi government to save it”, he said.
The union also said that the import of Iranian apples is posing a serious threat to the health of consumers. The union alleged that Iranian apples are often treated with harmful chemicals to preserve them during transportation. The union urged consumers to avoid buying Iranian apples and to support Kashmiri apple growers.
The union also said that the import of Iranian apples is having a negative impact on the environment. The union alleged that Iranian apples are often transported in refrigerated containers, which consume a lot of fuel and emit greenhouse gases. The union urged the government to consider the environmental impact of Iranian apple imports before making a decision on whether or not to ban them.