This year yet again, the fruit growers of Kashmir are claiming low returns from the market. The season has just started with fruit laden trucks leaving for the mainland with lots of hopes and expectations from the growers. So far most of the growers are unhappy and claim the product is not getting the deserving price. This leads to their demotivation and frustration. Since 2019 when the Union Government abrogated article 370 followed by the global pandemic COVID19, the fruit industry of Kashmir has continuously been on the receiving side. Growers have suffered immense losses.
Either it was the entry of Iran apple through Afghanistan or the global recession that triggered losses to Kashmir apple growers. The worst sufferers were those who had kept their produce in cold storage hoping to see the market rising again and selling their fruits against the competitive prices. That never happened and by the end of season they were forced to take the crop back from cold storage and sell them on roadside in Kashmir to avoid further losses.
This year in case the market is not regulated and the crop of Kashmir is not properly sold in the market at genuine prices, most of the growers and apple traders may result into bankruptcy. Undeniably, they have been bearing the losses for 3 years now and can’t afford anymore. With Kashmir’s apple market continuously slumping, the major economy of Kashmir is under immense threat. It is ironic that successive regimes in Jammu Kashmir have been more into developing the Tourism industry and ignoring horticulture.
Directly or indirectly over 60 per cent of the population of Kashmir is associated with the Apple industry and by the end of year it has a whopping contribution of Rs 10000 crores. No other local industry including Tourism could match it ever. So it is the primary responsibility of LG Manoj Sinha administration to take up the matter at appropriate levels and address the issues to ensure it rises to its full potential.