Apple Season: A Backbone Of Kashmir Economy

Srinagar 07 Sept (KNB): No doubt, Kashmir is one of the biggest apple growing state in India, according to survey 67% of people in Kashmir are dependent on apple production. But due to uncertain nature of the situations in Kashmir apple growers suffered a lot in all aspects.

In Kashmir, the apple is termed as a king. The season of mid -September, apple growers start harvesting different varieties of the fruit.

Last year while addressing a gathering of fruit growers and progressive farmers, Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti declared 2017 as the ‘Year of the Apple.’ Thousands of people are employed in the whole process of the fruit’s production and varieties like Maharaj, Ambri, American, Delicious and Hazratbal make their way to different states in India.

Horticulture is the mainstay of the economy in Kashmir with 23 lakh people associated with this sector. More than 2.37 lakh hectares of land is under the fruit cultivation in the Kashmir valley. Of which 65 per cent comprise of the apple orchards.

However, September 2014 floods coupled hit the fruit production badly. Crops on 1.47 lakh hectares of land were ruined. After the floods, the 2106 unrest hits badly fruits growers as wholesalers and exporters from Delhi Azadpur Mandi were visiting seven fruit markets at Srinagar, Sopore, Baramulla, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Charar-e-Sharief but the worst situation won’t allow which is preventing them to operate even in night hours.

While talking to Kashmir News Bureau Bashir Ahmad a fruit grower said “Due to bad situation in Kashmir we could not sale our apples to other state of india, which is effecting our family as well as our economy.”

Another apple trader, Hanief Ahmad said, “From last few years we are suffering badly as we can’t move freely on shutdown and curfew days,the continued lockdown has curtailed their movement which has resulted in the rotting of some apples”.

Important to know, In shopian lakhs of boxes remain deserted for most of the days. As compared to normal days, traders export their apples to Delhi, Mumbai, West bengal etc. but due to bad nature of situation in Kashmir, traders failed to supply. (KNB)

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