Fruit growers in Kashmir are worried due to less demand of the fruit in several markets causing losses to farmers, reported a local news agency.
Growers from different areas of Kashmir told Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that usually the rates of apples were remaining very high during initial stage of the season but this year that hasn’t happened.
Abdul Rashid, a grower from Shopian, said that during the early stage of the season, the demand of the apples was high but this year the market is down by around 40 percent.
“Growers are suffering losses as labour rate, transportation charges, cost of paper, cardboard and wooden boxes are touching sky but rates are down due to which growers aren’t even fetching the amount that they have spent on it in the ongoing year,” he said.
Ghulam Hassan Nengroo, President Dachnipora Fruit Growers Association, told KNO that the horticulture industry is going to collapse in Kashmir if the government would not intervene as this industry is facing many challenges.
He said that import of fruit from Iran has lowered the demand of Kashmir apple and the land under horticulture is increasing with each passing year and production is also increasing but with low demand.
He said that the government must again purchase apples from growers through market intervention schemes so that growers can fetch good rates too as per the quality of the fruit.
“The charges of fertilizers, pesticides, labour, package, transport and other things are currently more than what growers are getting despite spending their full year in their orchards,” he said.
President of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union, which is an elected apex body of all Fruit Growers Associations in the Valley, Basheer Ahmad Basheer told KNO that the market is down by almost thirty percent and growers are very much worried.
He said that the main challenge is that fruit isn’t reaching on time in the market as fruit laden trucks are allowed towards Jammu for just two to three hours on Srinagar-Jammu national highway. (KNO)