BY: Raja Akbar
Srinagar: The Kashmir valley fruit growers decried the government inaction for failing to act against what they called “illegal sale” of Iran and Afghanistan apples in Azadpur Mandi, which poses threat to apple industry not only in Kashmir but in the entire country.
In a statement, general secretary, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union said apple growers are facing two-way loss from the last year, COVID-19 made life miserable for growers and traders.
“Due to COVID-19 lockdown, apples were sold at low rates or were rotten in farms or cold storages due to unfavorable market trend. This made growers stand in huge debts,” he said.
He said that this year a ray of hope was attached with growers to recover some loss but the entry of apple from Iran/ Afghanistan is cause of worry for the apple growers in Valley.
Apple growers from Kashmir have expressed concern over what they call an illegal imports of Iran/ Afghanistan apples to (Wagah border) India.
They say Iran/ Afghanistan apples produce is being sold at the Azadpur Mandi from Rs 40- Rs 80 per kg in Delhi, with these sales inflicting heavy losses on the Kashmir apple trade.”
General secretary, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers union said that Delhi Azadpur Mandi a huge platform were made for Indian produce crop and for Indian Growers only by APMC and Sale of Imported produce is not permitted but Iran/ Afghanistan apples are being sold in Delhi APMC mandi auction sheds.
It said the Kashmir apple industry has been struggling because of the lockdown imposed after revocation of Article 370 (an indirect reference) in 2019. “The prolonged lockdown delayed harvesting that year causing huge losses.”
“This sale practice of Iran/ Afghanistan apples should be considered as threat to nationwide growers and government should arbitrate in quickest possible manner to safeguard the growers and other attached to trade from valleys of Kashmir and Himachal,” added the fruit growers union. (KNS)