Jammu & Kashmir

Reports of price decline misleading, evaluation possible when apples from CA stores hit market: KCCI

Kashmiri apples. [FPK Photo/ Vikar Syed]

Srinagar: Amid reports of concerns raised by apple growers and traders in Kashmir over a sharp decline in prices of the fruit in recent weeks, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has sought to clarify the situation.

According to KCCI, the current apple supply in the market is not from non-Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage, and any predictions based on this are misleading. The Chamber emphasises that a proper assessment can only be made when apples from CA storage are available.

Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage is a postharvest management practice that involves manipulating the storage environment’s carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations, along with temperature and humidity. This method aims to maintain fruit quality and extend the shelf life of stored apples.

Aashiq Shangloo, Vice President of KCCI, stated that the apples currently in the market constitute less than one percent of the total product. Assessing the entire yield at this stage is deemed impractical.

Shangloo emphasised that the accurate evaluation would only be possible when apples from CA storage facilities are brought to the market. CA-stored apples have a longer shelf life of over 20 days, providing a crucial advantage over non-CA stored apples.

Earlier reports in Kashmir media suggested that apple rates had declined, with some produce yet to reach mandis from cold storages. Shangloo said that the total apple industry growth in Kashmir is around 20 lakh metric tonnes, with the current storage capacity standing at 3 lakh metric tonnes. The apple industry, valued at Rs 10,000 crore, supports the livelihoods of approximately 3.5 million people in the region.

The controlled-atmospheric (CA) storage method has played a crucial role in supporting the struggling apple industry in Kashmir, providing local growers with opportunities to sell their produce during off-seasons and ensuring favorable returns.

Kashmir annually harvests 1.5-1.8 million metric tonnes of apples, contributing over 75% to India’s total apple production.

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