Jammu & Kashmir

Apple industry of Kashmir has shown growth of 20 lakh metric tonnes, says KCCI VP Aashiq Shangloo

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Golden Delicious apple variety of Kashmir [FPK Photo/Vikar Syed]

Srinagar: The total growth of apple industry of Kashmir is 20 lakh metric tonnes, Aashiq Shangloo, Vice President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Friday.

He added that the government of India has been supportive in enhancing the growth of the industry.

“In harvesting season, when we used to produce 20,000 metric tonne apple, it used to hit market at a time as there was no facility for storage. However, the government is now providing incentives benefiting the whole industry especially growers,” Shangloo said.

He added that today the Kashmir has 3 lakh metric tonnes storage capacity for apples. The Valley’s Rs 10,000-crore apple industry gives direct and indirect livelihood to around 3.5-million people.

Kashmir on a average harvests 1.5-1.8 million metric tonnes of apple yearly, which is more than 75 per cent of India’s total production.

This year, the crop has been good and the production is being pegged at 2.1 million metric tonne.

Kashmir boasts an annual apple production of over 20 lakh metric tonnes (MT), with about eight lakh MT falling into the A-grade category.

However, during the post-harvest period, approximately four lakh MT are sent directly to fruit mandis. This poses a challenge, given that the region possesses only 25 cold-storage facilities, with a combined capacity of two lakh MT. Consequently, the remaining two lakh MT cannot be accommodated, leaving growers in a quandary about storing their produce.

In this context, the controlled-atmospheric (CA) storage method has emerged as a savior for the struggling apple industry in Jammu and Kashmir.

This industry has been grappling with multiple issues, such as the influx of cheaper Iranian apples inundating the Indian market and transportation problems along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

The ramifications of post-harvest losses are considerable, inflicting significant financial setbacks on Kashmir’s apple growers. With more than seven lakh families directly dependent on the fruit sector, the stakes are high.

The advent of cold-storage units has proven to be a boon for local apple growers. These units allow them to sell their produce during off-seasons, yielding favorable returns.

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