Srinagar, Oct 06: Traditional apples from Kashmir are in high demand across the country this year due to a significant drop in production, according to various fruit grower associations in the valley.
The growers, while speaking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said there is a 30-40 percent decrease in apple production compared to the previous year.
They attributed this decline to adverse weather conditions during spring, which hampered proper fruit setting.
One of the members of the Fruit Growers Association in Shopian lamented the impact of erratic weather, citing a drastic reduction in his orchard yields.
He said there were approximately 3,000 apple boxes in the orchard last year; however, this year’s yield is estimated to be around 1,200-1,500 boxes.
Similar challenges have been faced by growers in other areas of the valley. They said despite the decrease in production, the current demand for apples remains robust.
The growers are hopeful that if this trend continues throughout the season, it could provide a significant boost to the industry, and offer much-needed relief to them.
Basheer Ahmad, President of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU), told KNO that the production is less by around 40 percent. “This is the main reason for the good demand for apples this year,” he said.
He revealed that approximately 80 percent of the traditional apples are yet to be harvested.
“If the demand continued throughout the season, it may bring relief to the growers after several years,” Basheer said.
Kashmir typically produces over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apples annually, with some years seeing this figure rise to 25 lakh metric tonnes. The 2017 economic survey in Jammu and Kashmir revealed that half of the region’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on the apple industry, which encompasses over 3.5 lakh hectares of cultivation.
Horticulture plays a crucial role in the region’s economy, contributing about 9.5 percent to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and generating 8.50 crore man-days of employment annually—(KNO)