In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the plummeting prices of apples across the wholesale markets have left thousands of apple-growers and traders distraught in apple-rich districts of south Kashmir.
Farooq Ahmad, an apple grower from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district had transported over a hundred apple cartons to Fruit Mandi, Shopian, hoping to fetch him a good amount. However, they were sold at dirt-cheap prices. An apple carton of Delicious variety weighing 17 to 18 Kgs is sold at Rs 400.
Muhammad Ashraf Wani, a well-heeled apple orchardist and former president of Fruit Mandi Shopian said that the growers would usually sell the same carton for Rs 900 to Rs 1100 depending on the quality and market prices.
Amidst jacked-up prices of packaging, fertilizers and pesticides, the farmers fear that they may not be able to recoup the production costs due to a significant drop in the prices of apples.
“The price of a wooden apple box has gone up to Rs 125. The GST has sent the pesticides and other packaging costs spiralling up by manifolds”, said Aabid Rashid, another apple grower.—KMS