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Fruit growers, buyers suffer losses due to low apple demand

 Fruit growers, buyers suffer losses due to low apple demand

Say rates down by 40 pc compared to last year’s main season

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Mar 29 (KNO): The fruit growers and buyers in Kashmir are deeply concerned, saying they face losses due to the low demand for apples.

Speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), growers and buyers expressed their dismay over the current situation, saying there has been a drastic decrease in apple prices compared to the rates during the main apple season in October-November 2023.

Mohamad Ashraf, a fruit grower from Shopian, said he was offered Rs 1,200 per apple box in November last year but opted to store them in a cold store at Lassipora. However, he now finds himself receiving only around Rs 800 per box, much lower than the expected rates of Rs 1,800-2,000.

Similarly, Shakeel Ahmad, an apple trader, lamented purchasing high-quality apples at Rs 1,000-1,500 per box last November, only to find that the current selling price has dropped to Rs 1,000 per box.

Ahmad said there was anticipation for increased demand in the spring season, which led growers and buyers to store apples in cold storage. However, the expected surge in demand did not materialise, resulting in substantial financial losses.

Azhar Anjum, the manager of a cold store, confirmed the downward trend in apple prices, saying that rates have plummeted by Rs 300-400 per box. Currently, Kulu boxes are being sold for around Rs 1,000 per box, while Delicious apples fetch only about Rs 800, he said.

Despite incurring expenses of around Rs 300-400 per box on cold storage charges, growers and buyers are struggling to achieve even the rates attained during the main season last year.

Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union, expressed concern over the losses faced by buyers due to the lack of demand this year compared to the previous year.

“While growers may not bear as much loss, buyers are grappling with substantial financial setbacks, having purchased apples at higher rates during a period of greater demand,” he said—(KNO)

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