After writing to FM, Delhi CM; growers planning to meet PM Modi
Srinagar: The Illegal import of Iranian apple continues to affect the selling rates of Kashmiri apple in Indian markets, while fruit growers are now planning to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.
Chairman, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union Bashir Ahmad said the import of Iranian apple via Afghanistan continues to affect Kashmir fruit industry.
“Traders continue to import Iranian apple via Afghanistan as they benefit from it due to fact that there is zero import duty treaty agreement between the Indian government and Afghanistan,” Bashir said. “Writing to Financial Minister Sitharaman and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal bear no fruits so far. We are now planning to meet PM Modi and ask him to either stop this illegal trade or levy taxes on them as apples are coming from Iran, not Afghanistan.”
Apple growers from different areas of Kashmir said that on one hand Government of India are beating drums of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat(Self-reliant India) but on the other hand the import of Iranian apple goes unchecked.
They said that apple industry in J&K has suffered huge losses since 2019 and this illegal import can prove another disaster for this Industry if the government won’t stop the “illegal trade”.
“We kept our produce in cold chains so that we can fetch good rates in different markets, however, the Iranian apples are being sold at so low rates that we aren’t even getting the amount that we have already spent for labour, pesticides and fertilizers in our orchards,” growers said.
Growers requested government of India to look into the matter at an earliest, otherwise the horticulture sector known as the backbone of the economy of J&K will collapse.
Around 80 per cent population in rural areas of Kashmir are directly or indirectly dependent on this sector.
Moreover, the annual production of apples in Kashmir Valley ranges from 1.5 million to 1.8 million metric tonnes and total cold storage capacity in the Valley is 120,000 to 130,000 MTs—(KNO)