Srinagar, Jan 31: Apple growers and traders in Kashmir are worried as they report that prices of the fruit have witnessed a sharp decline in the last few weeks.
Growers from different areas of Kashmir told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that apples fetched good returns but now rates have dipped with some 10 percent of the produce yet to reach mandis from cold storages.
Aafaq Ahmad, an apple trader from Pulwama told KNO that A grade apple would fetch over Rs 1300 in October, November and December last year but now it is sold around Rs 900-1000.
He said that the same is the cause with B-grade apples and rates have witnessed a decline of around Rs 200 per box.
They said that the main reason behind the decline in prices is continuous import of apples from other countries.
Subzar Ahmad, another Apple trader from Shopian said that they have procured apples at higher rates in October and November last year but they are currently facing losses as rates have decreased by around 20-30 percent.
He said that traders who kept their produce in CA stores will face more losses if rates won’t go up in the coming weeks.
President of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU), Basheer Ahmad told KNO that the fruit with low quality due to frozen conditions is getting low prices.
Besides, he said there has been an impact of imports from other countries along with cold weather conditions in the country as most people avoid apples in the cold season.
He said that rates have declined by around 30 percent but there is very little impact on quality produce.
Around 3 lakh metric tons of apples are stored in CA storages across Kashmir.
Kashmir on average produces over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple every year, a figure that in some years touches 25 lakh metric tonnes. The 2017 economic survey in J&K said that half of Kashmir’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on the apple industry and over 3.5 lakh hectares are under apple cultivation.