Kashmiri apples, Delicious, American and Maharaji brands still hold the position of Maharaja (King) in national and international markets.
Despite the 20 percent of less apple production in J&K, the fruit growers are getting a handful amount in national markets. Apple production of Himachal Pradesh and Uttranchal has gone down which has increased the demand of apples from J&K.
J&K produce a total of 12 lakh metric tons of apple but this year due to hailstorm, wind and early rain the production came down to 9.6 lakh metric tons but the growers are getting 40 percent more amount.
In fruit mandi at Jammu the whole price of a wooden box of good quality apple is around Rs. 544 and the price of the same in Delhi is around Rs 800.
A wooden box contains around 16 to 17 kgs of apple. Due to less production of apples in Himachal and Uttranchal demand of apple from J&K has increased in national markets.
Talking to HT, Director Horticulture planning and marketing MS Kasba said, “Though the early rain in first stage of apple production and dry spell in later stages brought the production down by 20 percent which is eminent due to changing weather condition. But the quality of apple has increased and we are getting handful amount for our product in Delhi market.”
“In Delhi our apple is one of the best products. Our product is getting more money than product from outside India in Delhi market,” Kasba added.
In retail market at Delhi, rate of apple of J&K varies from Rs 70 to 120 per kg which used to be around Rs 40 to 60 per kg depending upon its quality.
Kasba said “It is the good sign that our apple has more demand than apples from others states. Growers have got benefit from this and they have overcome the loss which they suffered due to less production.”
Few months back Kashmir fruit growers association decided not to send any new consignment of fresh fruit to Pakistan administered Kashmir because of hanging of payments and the association was worried about trade with Indian markets with whom they suspended ties last year during Amarnath land row.
But now as the demand of apple of J&K is increasing in markets of India, the fruit growers association could have a sigh of relief.
As the demand of apples of J&K will increase it will help in reviving the horticulture scenario in the state and the growers of valley need not to look for other alternatives outside India to sell their products.