Srinagar: Kashmir-based apple growers and sellers have rallied against the importation of allegedly untaxed (illegal) apples from Iran, which are sold wholesale and at lower prices than local apples in markets outside of the valley. Consequently, a significant quantity of local products languishes unsold in the cold rooms and godowns in Kashmir, the local apple economy suffered losses.
Those involved in the production and trade of apples have now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for his intervention to help them overcome the losses suffered due to the importation of untaxed Iranian apples into the country.
The letter sent to the Prime Minister by Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union, an umbrella body of all Kashmir fruit growers associations: via Afghanistan / Dubai to our country and this situation has put the whole industry fruit growing in both J&K (UT) and Himachal Pradesh in a very precarious situation because it has eroded our market share.
Stating that India is one of the world’s largest apple producers, the letter adds that around 70% of households in Jammu and Kashmir depend directly or indirectly on the sector.
âThere are over 1.50 crore of apple boxes stored in different cold stores. Likewise, there are additional boxes of apples of 1.50 crore in godowns which are owned by small, marginal producers who expect that once the harvest season is over, the stored produce will go to market for a reasonable process, âthe letter read.
The letter draws the Prime Minister’s attention to the “illegal and illegal dumping of Iranian apples in our country”, which, according to the fruit growers union, is “not only disastrous for the small and marginal producers of J&K (UT) / Himachal Pradesh but also causes enormous losses for the chessboard â.
The union of fruit growers and traders also called on the prime minister to either “impose a ban on restricting the flow of Iranian apples through Afghanistan / Dubai into our country in order to save the UT horticulture industry from J&K and Himachal Pradesh as well “or” impose a 100% import duty on Iranian apples to this country “.
Iranian apples sold at lower prices
Talk to ThreadKashmir Valley Fruit Producers Union President Bashir Ahmad said untaxed Iranian apples this year are being imported in bulk to Indian markets, taking away profits from Kashmiri apple growers and traders .
âIranian apples are imported from Dubai and the Wagah border and are sold at lower prices. For this reason, our apple business is losing out. Our products are confined in cold rooms and godowns in Kashmir, which could soon turn sour if the situation does not improve.
“We have about three cases of crore apples in cold stores and godowns that have yet to be sold in overseas markets, as Iranian apples have flooded the markets and damaged our apples’ market share,” Ahmad laments. .
Echoing the sentiments of local apple growers and traders, Ahmad urges the Union government to ban the import of Iranian apples into Indian markets in order to avoid further damage to Kashmir’s apple economy.
“If Iranian apples are still imported, there should be a 100% import duty on these apples, so that they do not reduce our market share,” he adds.
With the contribution of Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 12,000 crore to Kashmir’s fragile economy, Ahmad adds that it is the local horticultural sector that provides livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of people.
âThis government is emphasizing the production and consumption of our own products in the country under slogans like ‘Make in India’. But, Iranian apples sold in Indian markets like this will destroy Kashmir’s apple economy and further discourage small Kashmiri apple growers, âhe adds.
Huge products confined to cold storage
Fayaz Ahmed Malik, the president of the Association of Fruit Growers in the city of Sopore in northern Kashmir, says that around 15% to 20% of apple products are still in cold stores and to come downs in Kashmir.
Its potential market outside the valley has been severely affected by the sale of Iranian apples, Malik said, adding that around 50% of Kashmir’s apples have been severely affected by the import of Iranian apples sold in markets outside. of the valley.
âAbout four cases of Kashmir crore apples are still unsold here and outside the valley. Thousands of boxes of apples have yet to be transported to overseas markets, as our business has been disrupted and severely affected due to Iranian apples, âhe said, adding that Iranian apples are being importedâ illegally âinto India. via Gujarat shipping ports.
âOur apples would be sold in Indian markets all year round, but now customers are getting Iranian apples at cheaper prices, destroying our business,â said Malik.
While previously a box of Kashmir apples, he says, sold for between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 in markets outside the valley, the rate has now fallen to around Rs 600 to Rs 700 after bulk importation of apples. Iranian in Indian fruits. Marlet.
âBulk apple production is still stuck here because market rates are low. People prefer Iranian apples which are sold at lower prices. We are suffering additional losses because we have to transport unsold products from markets to cold stores and depots, âhe laments.