Srinagar: Addressing a Press Conference in Srinagar, the Kashmir Fruit growers association appealed Government of India to ban the import of Iranian apples in the Indian market as the supply has replaced Kashmiri apples with cheap Iranian import in the Indian markets.
Reportedly, over 3 crore apple boxes are lying unsold in the Kashmir division.
"If Modi proclaims to uphold domestic economy as preached during Make in India campaigns, campaigns is this dispensation importing goods from a foreign country when almost 80% of India's apples are homegrown in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttrakhand," he said.
The supply of Iranian apples in India has severely affected the foothold of Kashmir-produced apples in the Indian market.
President of Kashmir Valley, Fruit Growers Dealer's Association, and New Kashmir Fruit Association Bashir Ahmad Bashir said due to sanctions, Iran is selling its product (apples) at a very low cost.
Since the loss of the semi-autonomous status of J&K in 2019 followed by covid Lockdown in 2020 and untimely snowfall in October 2021, Kashmir's Apple Growers yearn on the loss of apple economy for the third year now.
He said our rates have declined from Rs 1200 per box to Rs 600.
"The production cost of one apple box is Rs 600 and transport charges costs Rs 300 per box, in addition to GST that increased from 12 percent to 18 percent. Now, how can a grower sell his production at such low rates," he briefed.
"We met Union Agriculture Minister but he didn't take any action to stop the supply. Then we wrote to Prime Minister, LG office, but to no avail," he said.
"Despite repeated requests, the GoI has not paid any heed to the matter," the associated President said.
Bashir said that the horticulture industry is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir, and government must make sure to safeguard this sector.
"This is the only sector that has survived in all these years of turmoil. Around 70 to 80 percent population are associated with this industry and are earning their livelihood from it," he said.
Bashir said that, as per their information, many people have dumped the Iranian apples at the ports of Mumbai and Chennai, which they later sell at low rates in the Indian Mandi's as compared to Kashmiri apples.
"The imparted apples are stored in seaports of several states and sold later in the markets of India which is illegal. There should be a tax imposed on it," the association said.